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Sea of Poppies

Author: Amitav Ghosh
Paperback
Language: English
Length: 528 Pages
Publisher: Penguin
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Sea of Poppies (Paperback) Price: Rs.306

The novel, Sea of Poppies, is first book of the trilogy Ibis and has been written by the Indian author, Amitav Ghosh. The novel deals with life in Calcutta and on the banks of river Ganga preceding the Opium Wars. This novel earned a Man Booker Prize nomination for the author.


Summary Of The Book


The book Sea of Poppies is set in the 1830s earlier to the Opium wars and involves the lives of Deeti who is a common villager, Zachary Reid who is an American sailor, an opium trader Benjamin Bumham, Paulette who is a French orphan, and a zamindar named Neel Rattan Halder.


Amitav Ghosh commences the narrative with Deeti, who is a typical caring housewife and mother who is married to a cripple, Hukam Singh. She soon realizes that she had been drugged with opium on her wedding night so that her husband’s brother could consummate the marriage instead of her infertile husband. When her husband dies, Deeti entrusts her daughter to the care of some relatives and decides to perform the ritual of Sati. But she is saved from it by Kalua, and the pair runs away together. The story then proceeds to look into the lives of Zachary Reid, Neel Rattan Halder, and Benjamin Bumham. All the main characters of the story have an association with opium, and their stories merge when they meet on the ship Ibis. 


The author compares the main protagonists of his book to poppy seeds originating in immense numbers, which almost appear like a sea. Ghosh feels that like the poppy seeds, all the characters are unsure of their destiny. Another prominent comparison in the book is between river Ganga with river Nile. Ghosh feels that both the unselfish, ever-providing rivers are responsible for the growth and progress of the civilizations on their banks. He puts forth his philosophy in an enrapturing way in Sea of Poppies, attempting to make it a thought-provoking read.


About Amitav Ghosh


Amitav Ghosh is a renowned Bengali Indian author known best for his books written in English.


As an author, Amitav Ghosh made his debut in 1986 with the novel The Circle of Reason. He has since then written many a fiction and non-fiction. Besides the very popular Sea of Poppies, The Hungry Tide, The Shadow Lines, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass Palace, River of Smoke, and In an Antique Land are some of his well-known novels. 


Born in July 1956, Ghosh was educated at first-rate schools in India. Later, he obtained a D.Phil from St. Edmund Hall in social anthropology. Subsequently, he became a professor and has taught at Queens College, City University of New York, and Harvard. For his contributions, the author was awarded the Padma Shri award by the Indian government in 2007. He has also won the Sahitya Akademi award, the Dan David Prize, and the Arthur C. Clarke award, besides being a nominee of the Man Booker Prize in 2008. At present, the author lives in New York along with his wife Deborah Baker, and they have two children.

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Specifications of Sea of Poppies (Paperback)

Contributors
Authored By Amitav Ghosh
Book Details
Publisher Penguin
Imprint Penguin
Publication Year 2009
ISBN-13 9780143066156
ISBN-10 0143066153
Language English
Edition 1stEdition
Binding Paperback
Number of Pages 528 Pages
Territorial Rights Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal
Dimensions
Height 1.22 inch
Weight 398 g
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Book Reviews of Sea of Poppies

4.2
Average Rating
Based on 98 ratings
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Most Helpful Reviews (5 of 15)

This review was written for Sea of Poppies
Devendra Purushe.
26 November 08
SEA OF POPPIES

As I go through this wonderful book which is fiction based on a platform of realities of the East India Company and British Rule in India, I cannot but feel proud firstly to be an Indian, and to be a descendant of this multitude of human population which has lived through the tough times of the last few centuries.

Here Amitav is talking of our ancestors who struggled through darkness and backwardness emerging as victors, and for which I feel truly indebted.

Thanks Amitav, you have made me live through their travails and hardships. You have written a trully wonderful book.

With my general background knowledge of the Opium Wars, I can vouch that what ever Mr Amitav has written is based on facts and truth.

dk.

3 of 3 users found this review helpful.
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★★★★★
★★★★★
30 January 12
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Impressive, Addictive and Engrossing Story

Amitav Ghosh has done a huge amount of research into the background of life 200 years ago in India. This is a truly engrossing historical novel that starts out in India of the 1830s, against the background of the opium trade between the East India Co. and China.The first part of a trilogy, the novel tells the story of how a variety of people come to find themselves on a ship, the IBIS, and of the events on board just as it is starting out on its voyage.But is more than that.Ghosh brings the India of the 1830s alive with vivid descriptions of Calcutta as it was called then, the lives of those who lives there, whether poor boatmen, rich landlords, peaeant farmers and their wives or ruthless British businessmen. Food, religion, tradition, racism and castes and their impact on lives are a central part of the book. Of particular interest is the lascars who man the ship and the language they use which is essentail in giving the book a sense of authenticity.
Nice book!!

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1 of 1 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
28 December 11
Immersive virtual reality!

To me, Sea of Poppies is the best work of fiction that Amitav Ghosh has ever produced, and that's saying something!

The descriptions of people and places sucks one in and refuses to let go. The imagery that Ghosh paints is breathtaking, and in spite of rich detail, a well defined plot keeps one gripped almost as effectively as a thriller does.

A single negative: as the first part of a trilogy, the story ends rather abruptly (how I hate thee JK Rowling, for making book series fashionable, how I loathe waiting). It made me preorder A River of Smoke, the only book besides the Harry Potter series that I have pre ordered. Be warned though: some may find the sequels disappointing compared to the masterpiece that this installment is.

Can't wait to get my hands on the final part of the trilogy!

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2 of 2 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
24 July 12
Enthralling and addictive-A perfect 'Ghosh'

I am an ardent fan of Amitav Ghosh.In the present scenario of Indian English Literature which is scattered with juvenile writings in an english language which can,t be termed 'Pedestrian'as its even more appalling, Ghosh along with a few others are truly messiah and their works are treasures to us- the reader.Amitav Ghosh has the innate capacity to transport the reader to a magical land..sometimes bleak,sometimes beautiful and often surreal.Sea of Poppies is no exception but rather an epitome of perfection.
The story is engrossing,detailed and addictive.The amount of research which has undergone to bring into life the 19th century India is enthralling as it takes the reader into the magical voyage of Ibis on the Indian Ocean.The charecters- be it Deeti the docile yet fiery Opium farmer ,Mr Zachary-the ships first mate or Neel-the fallen zamidar of bengal evokes sympathy,rage and and hope. Often the reader begins to envision them as it is written in their in the own dialect further attesting to the detailing and research this masterpiece required.The plot is realistic giving us a glimpse of India which a kaleidoscope of culture,people with their numerous religion and travelers who are assimilated to become an unique entity called India.From the' Babu Culture 'of Bengal to the Opium farming of rural India, to the transition of British traders to Rulers of the country, to the french botanist and her quest for her identity ,each subplot is all encompassing .Finally Mareech or Mauritius which evokes hope and dread in the minds of the passengers of the ship as well as the reader who essentially becomes one of their own in course of reading this book.The rustic Bhojpuri to polished bengali to the lascar lingo..each chapter is a treat for the readers.
This is an apt beginning of the ambitious trilogy and I am looking forward to the journey.

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★★★★★
★★★★★
14 November 12
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It's a painting

In this first part of The Ibis Trilogy, Amitav Ghosh has painted a picture of India and its variety of people. These people vary in caste, color and religion but have their own insecurities that bind them together and it has been portrayed in such a poetic way that you are mesmerized more by the characters than the story itself. This was my read of Amitav Ghosh and I must say that I found it both different in storytelling and intriguingly colorful. But this book is not for those who like fast paced crime thrillers. It is for those who enjoy reading and then letting sink every word, every frame of thought and contemplate action.

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Most Recent Reviews

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★★★★★
★★★★★
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Awesome, awesome, awesome!

Sea of Poppies is an adventure/historical fiction that will take your breath away. In terms of its canvas it doesn't get any bi...

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24 March 14
★★★★★
★★★★★
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enjoyed reading

As always enjoy reading Amitav Gosh,completely adore reading him because of his citations of the sea fronts, the mangroves and...

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16 January 14
★★★★★
★★★★★
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Sea of Poppies: Good Read

Amitav Ghosh won't dissapoint you with this one. Very intresting book and the plot thickens as you read this. A bit long though...

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20 December 13
★★★★★
★★★★★
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Beautiful writing

The book is so fluid in its portrayal...that the vivid pictures as described by the writer would emerge infront of you.
<...

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01 November 13
★★★★★
★★★★★
Not so impressive

I bought this book after I read "The Glass Palace" which is much better. The story moves absolutely slow and in a bor...

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10 August 13
    Book: Sea of Poppies by
    ISBN Number: 0143066153, 9780143066156, 978-0143066156

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