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|Hardcover (2011)||Delivered in 2-3 days.||Rs. 384|
|Paperback (2012)||Delivered in 2-3 days.||Rs. 289|
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|Paperback (2011)||Out of Stock||Rs. 808|
|BB (2011)||Out of Stock||Rs. 1993|
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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.
|Number of Pages||560 Pages|
|Awards||Longlisted Man Asian Literary Prize|
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.
This is a good book. Let me say that from the start. I read Sea of Poppies and I loved it. I loved it because it was engaging and filled with plot and twists and turns.
If that book is hot, then this one is thanda. There is less of plot and a lot of deliberation mostly on the philosophical aspects of trade. In between are (potentially) useful snippets on botany and painting and Amitav creates this illusion of Canton as the perfect city to be in in the 1800's before the Opium War.
The first one, being called Sea of Poppies, followed the trail of opium in it's production and this one follows opium to the country that perhaps consumed the most of it and was most affected by it: China. The mentions of Chinese and Indian are what, I, as an Indian who has met Chinese people, find to be really spot on.
While this book is more boring that Sea of Poppies, I would definitely say that it is not to be missed because this will be the bridge to the finale.
My greatest disappointment: Not enough spoken about Mauritius (where the book opens in) and Deeti and Kalua and Jodu and 'Zikri malum' (from the previous books)
My greatest joy: Learning about the Opium War and what led up to it. I always knew the Brits were responsible but this book is a good way to see how.
Final Verdict: If you haven't read the previous one, don't read this one and if you have, sober yourself down. This one won't be as crazy but it will be as informative. Ghosh is a great writer who does not disappoint.
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!
I woudnt go as far as to say that Ghosh has outdone himself with 'The River of Smoke' but it nonetheless is indeed another illuminating and mesmerizing journey, typical of Ghosh, where the characters all find their fate a bit too intertwined. The novel drags a bit towards the beginning but it's most striking setback would be the biased set-point of the characters, which Ghosh has considered as use and throw objects where in he brings them in the story and banishes them too upon his whims, abruptly!
Amitav Ghosh is master painter... he recreates history from a vantage point not many of his contemporaries have... he has an uncanny knack of starting from threads and ending up making a whole gamut knitting together Nation Culture History Languge and what not... As a student of literature i can assure you, you dont have many writers of his stature... I feel it is too hard to wait for River Of Smoke
It was a timely delivery in good condition! Although its time Flipkart should think giving some incentive to the returning &...Read More
I couldn't put down the Sea of Poppies till I had finished it. I'm now struggling to wade through the River of Smoke. I may not...Read More
Finally bought this book in 2013' was wary of reading amitava ghosh since have only managed to read in full the glass palace ,b...Read More
This is a good book. Let me say that from the start. I read Sea of Poppies and I loved it. I loved it because it was engaging a...Read More