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The Shadow Lines

Author: Amitav Ghosh
Language: English
Length: 288 Pages
Publisher: Penguin
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The Shadow Lines (Paperback) Price: Rs.175

The Shadow Lines, an award-winning novel by Amitav Ghosh, weaves an intricate web of timelines, memories, and experiences, scrutinizing the lines that draw people together and keep them apart as well.

Summary Of The Book

The Shadow Lines presents a rich tapestry of plots and characters to trace several decades of events from the perspective of the anonymous narrator of the book. It follows the life of the protagonist and narrator, a young boy hailing from a middle class background, and dissects as many as seventy years of his life, traversing back and forth between the cities of Calcutta, Dhaka, and London.

The author introduces a host of interesting characters, such as the narrator’s knowledgeable uncle, Tridib. He highlights the narrator’s sexual attraction to his cousin, Ila. The bond between the narrator’s family and the London-based Price family is also emphasized. The narrator’s grandmother, Tha’mma, who has emerged from a dreadful past plays a crucial role as the plot progresses.

The narrative is set against the backdrop of several historical events such as the Second World War, the Swadeshi Movement, the Partition of India, and the communal riots that hit Calcutta and Dhaka in 1963-1964. It demonstrates the far reaching impact of political events on private lives.

The plot is built on a multitude of perspectives, demonstrating how the same experience can have innumerable shades based on the diversity of the perspectives involved.

The Shadow Lines was first published in 1988 by Ravi Dayal Publishers. It received high critical acclaim and won the author the Sahitya Akademi award as well as the Ananda Puraskar.This particular edition of the book is a 2009 reprint by Penguin.

About Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh is an Indian author.

He writes fiction as well as non-fiction. He has written books like The Imam And The Indian, Sea Of Poppies, The Hungry Tide, The Calcutta Chromosome, In An Antique Land, The Glass Palace, Countdown, and The Circle Of Reason.

His writing belongs to the historical fiction genre.

Amitav Ghosh was born on July 11, 1956, in Calcutta (now Kolkata), West Bengal, India. He attended the Doon School and then St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University. He went on to study at the Delhi School of Economics. He also has a D.Phil in social anthropology from St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. He has several years of teaching experience behind him. Ghosh’s literary work has won him various awards, including the Padma Shri, the Prix Médicis étranger, the Sahitya Akademi Award, and the Ananda Puraskar. He is married to Deborah Baker and the couple has two children, Nayan and Lila. He lives in New York with his family.

Specifications of The Shadow Lines (Paperback)

Authored By Amitav Ghosh
Book Details
Publisher Penguin
Imprint Penguin
Publication Year 2009
ISBN-13 9780143066569
ISBN-10 0143066560
Language English
Edition 1stEdition
Binding Paperback
Number of Pages 288 Pages
Awards Sahitya Akademi Award
Award Year 1989
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Book Reviews of The Shadow Lines

Average Rating
Based on 27 ratings
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Showing 1-5 of 9 reviews
06 August 12
Easily his best work

I started reading Ghosh with 'The Glass Palace' and that remained my favourite among his works - The Calcutta Chromosome (brilliant work too!), Sea of Poppies and The Hungry Tide. Until I read 'The Shadow Lines'.

It reads beautifully, like any Amitav Ghosh work. When it comes to using language, he is easily one of the best. Unlike most of his other works, there is much less research as such that has gone in. So he basically plays with different kinds of people - right up his alley being an anthropologist. While there is the narrator who hasn't traveled physically, but transcends all borders mentally when listening to stories from people and from his favourite Tridib, there is Ila, who sees the other end, traveling non-stop dragged all around the world by her diplomat parents. All she seems to know is where the women's room in each airport is, which is her marker for the places. Her life and problems are different and the description of the racist attack by fellow students leaves you gasping. For an avid reader, that passage is pure orgasm as Amitav switches across three different timelines with just one event and its narrative.

For me, this is by far Ghosh's best work. From what I am seeing with his later works like Sea of Poppies etc, this might even remain so. Not to put down his really good other works, but here he's on a totally different level. These days the amount of research that he puts into the story and the settings in a way inhibit his main strength - people.

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2 of 3 users found this review helpful.
10 September 12
Great story, great story telling. Hats off to Amitav Ghosh

A series of inter-weaving stories transgressing epochs and national borders, moving in and out of imaginations and visions of reality, concludes to finish an amazing tale. It has a pretty good narration and graphic description of almost everything from places to emotions. In particular the story is pretty amazing in itself but the way he unfolds the story makes it even more engrossing. Hats off to Amitav Ghosh.

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23 April 13
Amitav Ghosh, the God of Literature.

A moving account of a Bengali family visiting Dhaka in Bangladesh during the times of India’s partition with Bangladesh, Second World War events, and the communal riots in the early 1960s. A thoroughly researched book by one of the greatest of great writers I have ever read. The novel won a Sahitya Akademi Award for its portrayal of the great events of the time.

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25 June 12
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Memories: Lost and Found

A book that is the perfect amalgamation of memories. Things that we often forget in the maze of life, memories that usually become scattered, all compiled and made into a beautiful book.A must read for all those who have had a childhood full of memories of all variants, Love, lies,happiness and most importantly realization. Splendid work by Amitav Ghosh.

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1 of 2 users found this review helpful.
17 January 13
Splendid and stunning

One of the best books I ever read!
Covers so many themes, and mind blowing linkage of events over a huge time span.This book really needs attention.
Amitav Ghosh is may be most lucid story writer of today's India.

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1 of 1 users found this review helpful.
    Book: The Shadow Lines by
    ISBN Number: 0143066560, 9780143066569, 978-0143066569


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