Sea of Poppies, the first book of the trilogy Ibis, is written by the famous contemporary Indian author, Amitav Ghosh. It sheds light on the life in Calcutta and on the banks of river Ganga foregoing the Opium Wars. Sea of Poppies earned Amitav the Man Booker Prize nomination.
Summary of the Book
Sea of Poppies is a story set in the 1830s. It brings out the myriad colours and shadier elements of a family stricken with internal conflicts, as well as the social dogmas that plagued the Indian society back in the days. It also describes the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China, placing the fictional characters in a factual backdrop who unexpectedly meet on a ship. 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 are about to change forever. They all meet as though they were destined to become a family that made Ibis, the ship their home. Each character comes with an emotive background and has a story that they have left behind in different lands. Penury brings all these characters together and they fill one another’s broken souls and the journey continues to destinies that are not augured. All these characters have an association with opium. Amitav associates the main characters of the book to poppy seeds birthing in enormous numbers and appear like a sea. He associates the story to this idea in such a way that like the poppy seeds, all the characters are unsure of their destiny. Discover the profoundly philosophical journeys of different characters in this book.
About Amitav Ghosh
The Indian born English writer Amitav Ghosh’s work mostly constitutes historical situations and specifically Indian at that. He is from West Bengal. His debut novel was The Circle of Reason, and he has ever since been a prolific writer. Born in July 1956, Ghosh studied in some of the most reputed institutes of India. He later acquired a D.Phil. from St. Edmund Hall in social anthropology. He was also a professor and taught at Queens College, City University of New York, and the most renowned Harvard. For his outstanding contributions, Amitav Ghosh has been awarded the Padma Shri award by the Indian government in the year 2007. He has also won the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Dan David Prize, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in the 2008 for his book Sea of Poppies. Currently, he lives in New York, with his wife Deborah Baker, and their two children. Some of his other notable works are The Shadow Lines, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide and River of Smoke.