In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt Raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship brothers. An unlikely dynasty is born, which will span continents, races, and generations.
The vast sweep of this historical adventure embraces the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the crowded backstreets of Canton. But it is the panorama of characters, whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, that makes Sea of Poppies so breathtakingly alive - a masterpiece from one of the world's finest novelists.
©2008 Amitav Ghosh; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Such is the power of Ghosh's precise, understated prose that one occasionally wishes to turn the pages three at a time, eager to find out where Ghosh's tale is headed." (The Boston Globe)
"A writer of supreme skill and intelligence. " (The Atlantic Monthly)
I really enjoyed Ghosh's other book Hungry Tide, so I was looking forward to this one. I must admit, it took me a while to get into this book. I found the various accents of the characters difficult to understand and I felt that I was being introduced to a lot of different characters really quickly without enough context...however, as I listened further all this changed. All of a sudden I was immersed in the rich world that Ghosh created and I was loath to stop listening. By the time this book ended, I wanted more and was sad that the book had ended. This book will likely be a 2nd listen for me in the future.
This book is just so good, on so many levels. The narrator is the best I've heard, he really nails all the accents and it's wonderful to hear the correct pronunciation of the mix of languages used in the book. You won't be sorry if you listen to this one.
I usually avoid historical fiction at all costs, but decided to give this book a chance.
Unfortunately, it suffered from the same flaws as many of its ilk, in my opinion:
The history and the characters are depicted equally, which detracts from both, making them light and dull, respectively.
Also, the characters are either innocent pure angels, or the most dastardly heartless villains, which in both cases makes them generally annoying and predictable.
So, while it wasn't a badly written book, I got fed up about 2/3 through and gave up.
This is a slow moving, somewhat majestic first part of a trilogy. There is much detail and conversation in various dialects. The audible vocabulary of Indian and Chinese culture is harder to understand than it might be in a book, where there is opportunity to look up the foreign words. The spelling is not obvious. The overall flavor of the times before and during the Opium Wars comes through and lends historical interest. There are many characters in this trilogy, each with a distinctive story.
Note: this review also pertains to Ghosh's second book of the trilogy,
After hearing Mr. Ghosh interviewed about this book in front of an audience, I thought there would be a lot more real history in this 'historical fiction novel', but there is not. I'm more of a nonfiction fan, so please excuse me for being very disappointed with this book.
phenomenal performance by Phil Gigante, deserves an award for sure. Fascinating history, meticulous linguistic research by Ghosh pay off in a big way. Can't wait for the next installment! And can we please get audio productions of all of Ghosh's past work?
Having suffered through most of "Sea Of Poppies" I suggest the title should be "Sea Of Indian Words Whose Only Purpose Is To Prove The Narrator Can Pronounce Them". The story, if there is one, could easily told in an hour. This is the first audiobook I have erased from my library. Terrible!
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