I completely understand the concerns of previous reviewers with the terrible pronunciation of Hindi words and the poor East Asian accents in this audi..Show More »o book. I myself was very frustrated with the reader of Julia Child's autobiography who mispronounced the simplest French words. Having said that, not many Americans, myself included, will have a clue that anything is wrong. While that does not excuse the choice of a reader who is not familiar with those languages, it nevertheless would be a shame to miss this fantastic book.
Phil Gigante, despite his shortcomings, is a wonderful reader, giving each character a distinct voice. So my advice, if the accent problem will bother you, get the book from your library. If not, don't miss out on this fabulous adventure, which is the first of a trilogy (a fact that is mentioned nowhere in the description!). The subsequent titles have not yet been published.
One of the obvious downsides is that there is no glossary ( apparently the print edition has one). So, even though I knew it must be something else (F..Show More »anqui Town as it turns out) I couldn't help hearing it as Funky town and imagining an appropriate Sino-GeorgeClinton beat. In any case, I LIKED the narration and thought Robin was hardly over the top in his Gayness. From the text alone, without Mr. Jhaveri's hilarious rendition, it is obvious that the 20th century has no monopoly on flamers. I quickly got used to not understanding certain words and one can understand them adequately in context. I enjoyed that Ghosh pauses in his description of scenes to list things (I guess generally in Bengali or Hindi): "the alley was crowded with pudongs, khalisha, mradupamen, lascars, sepoys and phonkas." Particularly good are the lists when there are descriptions of food. It is easy (and a good exercise) to be drawn into contemplating the deep immorality of the opium trade and realize how recently this history was brushed aside since it was Heathen Chinee. This, of course, is why WE are now addicted to plastic crap. The Celestial Ones are having the last laugh.
Good novel, would be better read by a different performer
This is a beautiful novel. Sea of Poppies still remains my favourite out of this trilogy but this was wonderfully writing too with a lot of historical..Show More » and political depth. People with interests in well-researched historical fiction from a postcolonial perspective would enjoy the Ibis trilogy. I gave three stars for the performance because I'm not in favour of the various, cringeworthy "ethnic" accents the voice artist does. Ghatak's flat rendering of Freddie/Ah Fatt's lilt and accent was so bad and distracting. I'd prefer less dramatized and stereotypical accents when listening to audiobooks in general. He managed the other accents but his inaccurate pronunciation of several hindusthani words was also distracting and misleading at several points.