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.
"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)
Really a family history intertwined with Burmese history rather than a novel of real personal growth or significant challenges.
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.
Having spent a month in Burma the end of 2011 the book brought back many memories as many of the streets in Yangon are still named as they are in the book. Yangon is in such disrepair from many years of neglect it has the feeling of melting into the streets. The architecture, for the most part, is still that of the times of the empire. Magnificent but falling down. Was in Yangon for 4 days total but a wonderful city to just get lost in.
It is my impression that many Americans have little awareness of history or events that happen outside of our country. The idea of people in Asia moving between countries to find work, to marry, to deal with family obligations might seem contrived if one has not delved into the history of some of these countries a bit. In almost every major city in Asia there are significant populations of people from surrounding countries. Sometimes there of their own will and sometimes not.
Changes in Burma might happen rapidly if the military does not take outright control again. For a look at Burma in the latter part of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century you might like Emma Larkin's "Searching for George Orwell in Burma".
YES, BOTH SLOW AND PLADDING
HARD TO SAY BUT IT JUST WENT ON AND ON
I GAVE UP HALF WAY THROUGH AND I WOULD RETURN IT IF POSSIBLE. IF IT WAS A HARD BACK I WOULD DONATE IT.
The first thirds very good, second third okay. Last third - author gave up any pretense of having a real story and real characters and slipped into thinly-veiled lecture mode. Good performance couldn't save it.
This book held my attention and I really liked the story line. It was a little difficult in the beginning but Burma is an area of the world I know little about and it was fascinating to hear about.
Writer of The Majick Series
I might on a long road trip. I typically only read or listen to a book one time... There are too many great stories out there to rehash them.
Too many great characters to list just one.
This is well written and performed beautifully. You will not regret the journey.
The book did an awesome job of helping put me the reader in the frame of events occurring in that time period.
Dolly was my favourite character
i will listen again. so much detail
this is a generational story. many are so. nothing comes to mind that would relate
one should listen/read this story. i doubt any person could be disappointed
The second half of the book telling the story of the impact of WWII on Burma and India
I think Arjuna, although as I listened I would have said others. Now looking back, I think it was him. Also Dinu, who is the most compelling, though I learned more from Arjuna's characte.
He isn't my absolute favorite, but I really do like the books that he narrates so probably yes.
Not sure, but I think I would use part of the title from Gosh's later book, history told in the guise of a travelers tale. That's really what most of his books are.
Like all of the Gosh books I have listened to, the very best parts of this book are when he enacts the historical drama in very torn characters. He is wonderful at capturing the ambivalence and complete lack of clarity about what is the right thing to do. I enjoyed so many of his insights, it was the best way to learn about the history of that period. His romantic sections are not so great, in my opinion, they are very predictable and don't shed much light on the characters themselves. He is much more compelling when he writes about conflict and confusion. He is really outstanding at capturing unanswerable dilemmas about the Indian identity and the impact of colonialism on the psyche of those colonized.
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.