Sea of Poppies

    Sea of Poppies  (English, Paperback, Amitav Ghosh)

    142 Ratings & 19 Reviews
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    • Language: English
    • Binding: Paperback
    • Publisher: Penguin
    • ISBN: 9780143066156, 0143066153
    • Edition: 1stEdition, 2009
    • Pages: 528
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    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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    Book Details
    • Imprint
      • Penguin Books India
    • Publication Year
      • 2009
    • Authored By
      • Amitav Ghosh
    • Author Info
      • Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. He studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford, and has taught at a number of institutions. River of Smoke is the second in the Ibis trilogy, which was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize and The Hindu Literary Prize in 2011. The first of the trilogy, the bestselling Sea of Poppies, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008. Ghoshs other works include The Circle of Reason (Prix Mdicis tranger Award), The Shadow Lines (Sahitya Akademi Award), In an Antique Land, The Calcutta Chromosome (Arthur C. Clarke Award), Dancing in Cambodia and Other Essays, Countdown, The Glass Palace (Grand Prize for Fiction at the Frankfurt International e-books Awards), The Imam and the Indian and The Hungry Tide (Best Work in English Fiction, Hutch Crossword Book Award). In 2007 he was awarded the Grinzane Cavour Prize and in 2010 the Dan David Prize.Amitav Ghosh currently divides his time between Calcutta, Goa and Brooklyn.
    University Books Details
    • Specialization
      • B.A(English)
    • Weight
      • 398 g
    142 Ratings
    19 Reviews
    • 5
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    Most Helpful 
    Most Recent 
    By Certified Buyers 

    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, ...


    Certified Buyer

    28 Dec, 2011

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    Must read book - A Literary masterpiece

    This book is a literary masterpiece.I read this book a long time ago. I enjoyed it. I would argue that this book is certainly not for you if you like Chetan Bhagat.This is a very unique novel,one of its kind which only Amitav Ghosh can write.Not everyone will understand.It talks a lot about the East India company and about a history that few of us would have heard of.Its very surprising to hear that Opium was cultivates in large quantities in India and that some communities very actively inv...

    Sudhiir Krishnan

    Certified Buyer

    17 Sep, 2014

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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.

    Pure joy of reading the writing style more than anything else!!

    Rahul Kotabage

    Certified Buyer

    1 Nov, 2013

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    A journey through the life of characters

    Another good work by Mr. Ghosh. He is a master in creating characters and you get so involved with them that you want to know what their future holds. However, it will take you the first 100 or so pages to get used to the language used by the author and also to know the characters of the story. But I think its pretty reasonable considering the fact that this is the first part of 'Ibis' trilogy. It is not the usual 'juicy' fiction but will still keep you engrossed. A must have for the fans of...

    Prachi Sharma

    Certified Buyer

    8 Feb, 2012

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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 I...

    Chanda Kaushik

    Certified Buyer

    30 Jan, 2012

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    Beautiful and terribly vivid book

    This is a book that surely lives up to its reputation. A very well researched book set at the onset of the 1st opium wars between British East India Company and China.

    The characters seem so real and the changes in their circumstances leads people from varying backgrounds as a boatman, a king, an opium addict prisoner, a woman running from her past, an american sailor and french lady and many more who end up on the same ship 'The Ibis' to Mauritius - Black waters.

    Definitely worth a read.

    Anjan Goswami

    Certified Buyer

    5 Aug, 2015


    In the shadow of Opium

    Historical fiction is that rare thing that is difficult to research, hard to put into fiction and harder still to make it gripping. Amitav Ghosh has succeeded in doing all three and more in his Ibis trilogy and the 'Sea of Poppies' is our entryway into the great world that he creates.The Ibis trilogy aims to bring alive the opium trade, from its origins in India to its eventual destination of China along the way exploring the migratory history of the Indian people across the Indian ocean. Thi...

    Prem Kumar

    Certified Buyer

    30 Mar, 2015


    worth a read

    A good read, esp. for those interested in the british raj era. although the sequel isn't all that engrossing..


    Certified Buyer

    14 Feb, 2015


    Poppies, The English, natives and a rich tapestry of human emotions

    Do you like slow, steadily engrossing human story without too much of literary jugglery? If yes, this novel will be a very good one for you. The story revolves around a couple with a little daughter, who got caught in the vortex of "Afeem", a touching relationship between a "Phirang" lady and a man, man enough to act as her brother in the face of extreme adversities, a bankrupt "Zamindar" and his last hurrah before he is summarily punished, a "Subedar" typifying the invertebrate "peoples" of ...

    Dr.Soumya Saha

    Certified Buyer

    25 Aug, 2014


    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 bigger or better than this -- poppy fields of the Ganges, aboard a storm-lashed ship full of convicts, stowaways, a bankrupt raja and the 19th century opium wars! Amitav Ghosh excels!

    Adite Banerjie

    Certified Buyer

    24 Mar, 2014

    View all 19 reviews
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