We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
The Glass Palace Audiobook

The Glass Palace

Regular Price:$24.49
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Set in Burma during the British invasion of 1885, this masterly novel by Amitav Ghosh tells the story of Rajkumar, a poor boy lifted on the tides of political and social chaos, who goes on to create an empire in the Burmese teak forest. When soldiers force the royal family out of the Glass Palace and into exile, Rajkumar befriends Dolly, a young woman in the court of the Burmese Queen, whose love will shape his life. He cannot forget her, and years later, as a rich man, he goes in search of her.

The struggles that have made Burma, India, and Malaya the places they are today are illuminated in this wonderful novel by the writer Chitra Divakaruni calls “a master storyteller.”

©2002 Amitav Ghosh (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Ghosh renders the polite imprisonment of the Burmese royal family in India and the lush, dangerous atmosphere of teak camps in the Burmese forest with fine detail––a perfect balance for the broad strokes of romance and serendipity that drive the story forward." (The New Yorker)

"Ghosh ranges from the condescension of the British colonialists to the repression of the current Myanmar (Burmese) regime in a style that suggests E. M. Forster as well as James Michener. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (437 )
5 star
 (179)
4 star
 (161)
3 star
 (63)
2 star
 (21)
1 star
 (13)
Overall
4.1 (310 )
5 star
 (133)
4 star
 (109)
3 star
 (46)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (8)
Story
4.4 (310 )
5 star
 (174)
4 star
 (95)
3 star
 (29)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Janis ARLINGTON, MA, United States 11-01-11
    Janis ARLINGTON, MA, United States 11-01-11 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    107
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful Family Saga Set in Burma and Malaysia"

    This is a big story written by one of my favorite authors, Amitav Ghosh. He gives the full sweep of history in this region in the 20th century, starting with the end of Burmese royalty, the movement of Indians into the culture of Burma, the horrendous toll of suffering and displacement during WW II, ending with the restrictive political climate of the new "Myanmar". It is told through the intertwined families of the book, a large and intertwined lot. I loved the attention to the characters, and the coming together of many different family connections that span the generations. The characters are quite unique, and the woman are very independent. Ghosh is a great story teller and I would recommend his other books as well. The book's length and detail draw you in, the narrator is very good and brings all the characters alive. It is not a book for someone looking for a fast moving plot, but there is a lot of drama throughout the novel and a fascinating book for a good, long listening experience.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonny 07-29-12
    Bonny 07-29-12

    Addicted to books, both print and audio-.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    827
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    131
    92
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    98
    17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Marvelous listening experience"

    I read the book a few years back and loved it. It is beautifully written, very absorbing, and heartbreaking. This is a great way to re-read the book, or to read it for the first time. Simon Vance is one of the best narrators I've heard, and he does a marvelous job here. A fabulous listen!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Donohue New York, NY USA 06-09-12
    D. Donohue New York, NY USA 06-09-12 Member Since 2009

    dungha

    HELPFUL VOTES
    49
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    114
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Delicious Escape into the Past"

    Wow, I cannot remember why I selected this, as I had not read Ghosh before. It has been too enthralling an audiobook to put down! It has remarkable language portraits of India, Burma and Malaya, complete with smells, people, built environments, economics and politics. Sometimes it feels that too many historic events directly affect its players, but the reader is extraordinary and the novel's ability to evoke a place and time is superb.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    June 05-29-11
    June 05-29-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    377
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent"

    FANTASTIC book! Couldn't stop listening. Now, can't stop thinking about it. I did not find the narrative too long. I would highly recommend this book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ty gardena, CA, USA 05-02-10
    Ty gardena, CA, USA 05-02-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    70
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "I struggled to finish... enough said."

    I can appreciate the story - young boy grows up during a rough time but ends up becoming very successful, both in his business and personal life. I can even appreciate the author's ability to help you "see" the story. I feel like I got a real sense of how it was in Burma during this time. What I can't appreciate, are some of the long stretches of (seemingly) unnecessary details and conversations. I expect to have loads of details in an unabridged version, but sheesh, those details are usually helpful in telling the story. Not this time; instead I felt like there was a bunch of fluff added in. On top of that, the end read as if the author had gotten tired of writing, but still wanted to cover a 10? 20? 30? year timespan so he just threw it all out there with no clear indication of the year, or the amount of time that had passed. 2.5 stars for the idea of the story, -2.5 stars for making it sooo difficult to finish. (I actually gave up about 5 times).

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K.D. Keenan Northern California 03-07-12
    K.D. Keenan Northern California 03-07-12 Member Since 2007

    1emp

    HELPFUL VOTES
    170
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    91
    70
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Touchng, Beautiful--and Annoying"

    The Glass Palace is beautifully written, with wonderfully-drawn characters and many touching moments. However, between Part 1 and Part 2 there was such a quantum leap in time and events that I went back to Audible to make sure that I had downloaded all the parts. There was a gap of 15 years, during which protagonists who were in different countries somehow got together and were married in some unexplained manner that was never clarified. Once I got past this, however, the story continued in a very satisfactory manner, and I am glad I stuck with it. Simon Vance's narration was superb, as always. I highly recommend this book despite its flaws. It is a portrayal of a venue that has not been well-covered in fiction--Burma (now Myanmar) and Malaya from early 20th Century to the 1970s.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristen Giles Boulder, CO, USA 02-01-16
    Kristen Giles Boulder, CO, USA 02-01-16 Member Since 2011

    Kea Giles (Asmus)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    28
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Long book made longer by very little happiness"

    Only listen if you want a sweeping history of Burma and India. It's well-written and narrated with great detail, but so long! And I found it to be sad on balance.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 01-31-14
    Richard Delman San Francisco 01-31-14 Member Since 2016

    I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3192
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    503
    229
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1122
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I found no fun here. Education about Burma, maybe."

    In the past several weeks I have devoted about four and a half hours trying to enjoy this book. But, when you are "trying to enjoy" something, what that means is that you are not actually enjoying it at all. Maybe it's cultural, as my wife is fond of saying. You do find yourself rooting for the young Rajkumar, but there is no suspense at all in this story. Clearly he is going to grow up and marry the lovely young Dolly (I am so sure that that is not how to pronounce her name; it's just phonetics). I bought the book because I thought I might learn something about Burma, and because Simon Vance is just a really good narrator. Call me an American, which I certainly am, but the book is not friendly to an American reader, in the way that Tim Hallinan's books, which are about Thailand, certainly are written from the American viewpoint. I love his books, and I am educated as well as being entertained by them. I learn quite a bit about Thailand and about Southeast Asia from them. Tim knows how to hold his audience in the way that Amitav Ghosh does not. This week I realized that I listened to Owen Laukkenan's book "Criminal Enterprise" in its entirety while I was in the middle of struggling through this book. Not a good sign. Maybe you have to be Burmese, although that sentence sounds preposterous to me as I write it. Maybe I should just listen to the hundreds of other audiobooks that I have loved and been entertained by.

    9 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 05-29-13
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 05-29-13

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    903
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    247
    230
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    87
    88
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Riveting picture of the human story of Burma!"
    What did you love best about The Glass Palace?

    The characters were well drawn and very vivid, so that you emphasized with them. I also enjoyed the descriptions of a country I knew very little about. It was an eye opening experience.


    What other book might you compare The Glass Palace to and why?

    This book is similar to Hawaii by James Michener, or Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd. They all are sweeping stories of country's histories told thru a few families. The only difference is that The Glass Palace is only telling a few hundred years of history while the others go centuries.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

    So many characters I loved. I would have to say Dinu Raha was my favorite. As a young boy he is closer to his mother than father, and survives childhood polio. He loves photography and would be what we call today autistic in his singlemindedness. He falls for Alison the beautiful daughter of Matthew and Elsa and against all odds wins her love.
    He also becomes the voice of Burma and a political prisoner for a time.
    Just loved his character!


    If you could rename The Glass Palace, what would you call it?

    I like the name just fine. Don't think there is a better name.


    Any additional comments?

    This story really brought the world to me. The narrative is told by the individual peoples and made me realize that Britain and America's love for their country and belief in a "manifest destiny" nearly destroyed the people and countries they conquered.
    A very moving tale of the rights of all people to live free in this world.
    Highly recommend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dart 08-16-12
    Dart 08-16-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great historical/cross-cultural story"
    Where does The Glass Palace rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Upper quadrant.


    What was most disappointing about Amitav Ghosh’s story?

    Really a family history intertwined with Burmese history rather than a novel of real personal growth or significant challenges.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Every scene was told with the same reporter style so it was somewhat difficult to get emotionally caught-up. Overall the story (history) was compelling.


    If you could take any character from The Glass Palace out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Simon Vance


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.