Friday, October 16, 2009

Sea of Poppies

I just finished the Amitav Ghosh novel Sea of Poppies about the opium trade in India in 1837. When I started it, I was practically elated to find myself so securely in the hands of such a wonderful writer and storyteller. As the book wore on some of it felt a little too race conscious, a little anachronistically so, but by that time I was in deep and actually wanted to know what happened. And by the end, well, I read the last section with baited breath, on pins and needles, at the edge of my seat. Plus, there was some perfect sentences. If I were any kind of blogger I'd pluck some out for you, but I've got to set the table. Before I go, though, I'd also recommend In an Antique Land, also by Ghosh, which I read a million years ago and remember simply loving. As for the weekend, there will be birthday parties, so there won't be much reading. So it goes.


Sue Dickman said...

If you haven't read Ghosh's The Shadow Lines, you must. It was his second novel, published in 1987 or so, and it's brilliant. I've read it and taught it multiple times, and it holds up. Beautifully written and emotionally powerful. I also really liked In an Antique Land, but no other novel of his has come close to The Shadow Lines. (Maybe if I didn't love it so much, I would love his others more? I don't know.) I haven't read Sea of Poppies yet, but it's on the list.

Robin Aronson said...

I was hoping I'd hear from you, Sue! I will definitely check out The Shadow Lines. A friend comes from an Indian family who were expelled from Burma and she says her mom treats The Glass Palace as a kind of bible with her own stories suddenly on the page. She herself is a huge fan of the Hungry Tide. Clearly, when it comes to Ghosh's work, there's what to read!