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River of Smoke (English)

Author: Amitav Ghosh
Hardcover
Language: English
Length: 560 Pages
Publisher: Penguin India
Rs. 699 35% Off
Rs. 450
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River of Smoke (English) (Hardcover) Price: Rs.450

Published in the year 2011, River Of Smoke is a novel that revolves around the Opium trade, which originated from the poppy fields in India.

Summary Of The Book

River Of Smoke is the second novel in the The Ibis Saga trilogy, which revolves around the opium trade, which led to the Opium Wars in China. In this second novel, the opium drug is on its way to China, and three ships are brought together due to an unexpected storm.

One of the three ships, The Anahita, was carrying an opium cargo to China, and it’s owner was Bahram Modi, a Parsi businessman, who was the son-in-law of a wealthy shipbuilder. With the passing away of his father-in-law, Modi’s brother-in-law tries his best to convince him to stop the business. However, Modi decided to quit, but only after his last order, which was to ship opium to China, before the ban on this substance came into effect.

Ah fat, who is Modi’s son, and Neel Rattan, who is a landlord, are both convicts, having escaped from The Ibis. The three of them meet Paulette Lambert, and Fitcher Penrose, near Canton. What happens next? Read on to find out.

About Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh is a renowned Bengali author from India.

Apart from this book, Ghosh has written a number of other books, and they include Dancing In Cambodia And At Large In Burma, The Calcutta Chromosome, In An Antique Land (1992), and The Glass Palace (2000).

Ghosh was born on the July 11, 1956, in Calcutta, India. He completed his schooling from The Doon School, and later went on to attend St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. He later attended the Delhi School Of Economics, and finished his D. Phil in Social Anthropology from St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He first began work at the Indian Express newspaper company in New Delhi. He now resides in New York, along with his spouse, Deborah Baker, who is the senior editor at Little, Brown And Company. In the year 2007, Ghosh was awarded with the Padma Shri by the Indian Government. He is also a visiting professor at several universities, including Harvard University. He is also a fellow of the Centre For Studies In Social Sciences, Calcutta.

Specifications of River of Smoke (English) (Hardcover)

Contributors
Author Amitav Ghosh
Book Details
Publisher Penguin India
Publication Year 2011
ISBN-13 9780670082155
ISBN-10 0670082155
Language English
Binding Hardcover
Number of Pages 560 Pages
Awards Longlisted Man Asian Literary Prize
Award Year 2011
Dimensions
Height 1.85 inch
Weight 844 g
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Book Reviews of River of Smoke (English)

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TOP REVIEWS View All Top Reviews (12)

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★★★★★
★★★★★
06 Jan 2012
An excellent book that I could not put down

It was with mixed feelings of anticipation and fear of disappointment that I began reading the River of Smoke many weeks after I bought the book and at the end of one long reading session by the poolside in Sentosa, my fears were justified. All the wonderful skills that one admires in Amitav Ghosh's works come to light but so do, in equal measure, the failings. His style of writing, it almost seems like a travel book complete with history and anthropology making the story come to life, is so endearing that one cannot resist any piece of writing that has his name on it. His ability to deligh... ()

It was with mixed feelings of anticipation and fear of disappointment that I began reading the River of Smoke many weeks after I bought the book and at the end of one long reading session by the poolside in Sentosa, my fears were justified. All the wonderful skills that one admires in Amitav Ghosh's works come to light but so do, in equal measure, the failings. His style of writing, it almost seems like a travel book complete with history and anthropology making the story come to life, is so endearing that one cannot resist any piece of writing that has his name on it. His ability to deligh...
It was with mixed feelings of anticipation and fear of disappointment that I began reading the River of Smoke many weeks after I bought the book and at the end of one long reading session by the poolside in Sentosa, my fears were justified. All the wonderful skills that one admires in Amitav Ghosh's works come to light but so do, in equal measure, the failings. His style of writing, it almost seems like a travel book complete with history and anthropology making the story come to life, is so endearing that one cannot resist any piece of writing that has his name on it. His ability to delight us with characters who come together from different parts of the world shows not just his story telling skills but his deep research and intelligence in creating the story which begins in Mauritius but is essentially that of the pearl river with the main cast of the Ibis all around to keep continuity with the Sea of Poppies, the first of his Ibis trilogy.

One has always admired his research and his ability to use that research extensively without any of it going to waste. Achhas, a Cantonese nickname for all Indians, irrespective of local origin, culture and tradition suggests that all the Chinese saw the various peoples from India as Indians even if they were limited by their regional identities and did not think of themselves as Indian, reminded one of a Javed Akhtar poem where all humans look the same to an alien on his first visit to Earth. One wonders if he was attempting to challenge the hypothesis that India, as a nation lacked a national identity and was a creation of the British Empire. At the same time, the use of local dialects (Creole in Mauritius and pidgin in Canton), which one is sure figured in his research notes, is often distracting when used as often as he does in what one expects to be an English novel. To have to carry 3 dictionaries (French, Creole and Pidgin) to appreciate the subtle suggestions that he wishes his characters to make seems a little too much of a burden to be able to appreciate the novel. The distractions almost seem like cheap stunts to demonstrate to the reader how clever he is, which may be forgiven when it is one's first novel and one's insecurity may be blamed but not when we all know that his novels have intelligent plots and he is a great story teller.

Bahram Modi, the central character of the novel, comes across as a country bumpkin who does not comprehend spoken English very well despite being around Englishmen for most of his life. While one can understand Behram's unease with speaking the language, having come to Bombay from rural Gujarat, his failure to follow common idioms and turn of phrase seems a bit too much of a stereotype that is more suited to Bollywood than a Ghosh novel.

Bahram Modi's meeting with Bonaparte is interesting and although it may seem like a gimmick adding little to the story line, Napoleon, who has always been eminently quotable, foretelling the rise of China as a future world power gives one a hint of where the story line is headed. If indeed it is true that Napoleon said this, one's respect for the man has grown and Ghosh needs to be commended for this clever device.

One's own view of Ghosh's writings is that he is extremely intelligent in the questions he asks in a manner that is almost like Jessop, the Panchatantra or the Arabian Nights, drawing the attention of the intelligent reader to the questions rather than poking them in the eye with his opinion. One can easily find him speaking to us in the context of the issues facing the modern world whether it is the European economic crisis, the meteoric rise of China as a superpower or the search for Indians to find a national identity. It is this kind of intelligence that Ghosh uses to stimulate his readers that makes his writings such an engaging read. It makes one want to keep his books by the bedside table for weeks or even months after one has read them just so that one can read them again to find other such gems which may not have been discovered during a previous reading of the books while one waits for the next novel, and last of the trilogy.

4 of 5 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
26 Nov 2011
River of Smoke

I read this book, couldn't wait to buy it off the book shelf and then actually read it too.

Amitav doesn't quite outdo himself in this one, but keeps the momentum from Sea of Poppies. This book focuses on Macau and the drums beat closer to the Opium War. I'm guessing the third book will wholly focus on the war and its aftermath.

Again, the story transports you to a different part of the world, that you may well be familiar with, but did not quite connect to India. Focusses on Balram Singh, and Ah Fatt's relationship, the life of the old age NRIs and their businesses & interactions w...
()

I read this book, couldn't wait to buy it off the book shelf and then actually read it too.

Amitav doesn't quite outdo himself in this one, but keeps the momentum from Sea of Poppies. This book focuses on Macau and the drums beat closer to the Opium War. I'm guessing the third book will wholly focus on the war and its aftermath.

Again, the story transports you to a different part of the world, that you may well be familiar with, but did not quite connect to India. Focusses on Balram Singh, and Ah Fatt's relationship, the life of the old age NRIs and their businesses & interactions w...
I read this book, couldn't wait to buy it off the book shelf and then actually read it too.

Amitav doesn't quite outdo himself in this one, but keeps the momentum from Sea of Poppies. This book focuses on Macau and the drums beat closer to the Opium War. I'm guessing the third book will wholly focus on the war and its aftermath.

Again, the story transports you to a different part of the world, that you may well be familiar with, but did not quite connect to India. Focusses on Balram Singh, and Ah Fatt's relationship, the life of the old age NRIs and their businesses & interactions with the native population.

Simply a MUST READ.. worth every penny.. and flipkart's price is the cheapest I've found!

1 of 1 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
27 Sep 2011
Rich and multilayered

Amitav Ghosh is one of my favourite authors. He paints rich history-woven tapestries, yet also shows the minutest of character developments. This book does not disappoint.

One comes away with a richer appreciation for history and how it shapes our lives.

1 of 2 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
14 Jul 2014
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certified buyer
As usual.. just amazing.

Have been following Amitav Ghosh for long and his masterpieces are just amazing. The details, the pictures painted by his words - they just stay with you for a long time. But the most important thing is the way his books have added and changed my perspective regarding the history of various things. Waiting for the 3rd part now!

0 of 0 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
11 Apr 2014
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
good sequel

Amitav Ghosh has done it again.River of smoke is equally entertaining and educational about the lives of india at british times.

0 of 0 users found this review helpful.

Recent Top Reviews

View all
★★★★★
★★★★★
14 Jul 2014
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
As usual.. just amazing.

Have been following Amitav Ghosh for long and his masterpieces are just amazing. The details, the pictures painted by his words - they just stay with you for a long time. But the most important thing is the way his books have added and changed my perspective regarding the history of various thing... (View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
11 Apr 2014
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
good sequel

Amitav Ghosh has done it again.River of smoke is equally entertaining and educational about the lives of india at british times. (View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
18 Mar 2014
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
Beautiful Read!

Its a breath taking journey!

Absolutely absorbing and delightful

Another riveting masterpiece from Amitav.

Must Read.
(View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
09 Feb 2014
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
Timely delivery in good condition!

It was a timely delivery in good condition! Although its time Flipkart should think giving some incentive to the returning & loyal customers. After all, competition is increasing day by day in online market too! (View complete review)

    Book: River of Smoke (English) by Amitav Ghosh
    ISBN Number: 0670082155, 9780670082155, 978-0670082155

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