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The Hungry Tide: A Novelby Amitav Ghosh
Synopses & Reviews
Off the easternmost coast of India lies the immense archipelago of tiny islands known as the Sundarbans. Life here is precarious, ruled by the unforgiving tides and the constant threat of attacks by Bengal tigers. Into this place of vengeful beauty come two seekers from different worlds, whose lives collide with tragic consequences.
The settlers of the remote Sundarbans believe that anyone without a pure heart who ventures into the watery island labyrinth will never return. With the arrival of two outsiders from the modern world, the delicate balance of small community life uneasily shifts. Piya Roy is a marine biologist, of Indian descent but stubbornly American, in search of a rare dolphin. Kanai Dutt is an urbane Delhi businessman, here to retrieve the journal of his uncle, who died mysteriously in a local political uprising. When Piya hires an illiterate but proud local fisherman to guide her through the crocodile-infested backwaters, Kanai becomes her translator. From this moment, the tide begins to turn.
A contemporary story of adventure and romance, identity and history, The Hungry Tide travels deep into one of the most fascinating regions on earth, where the treacherous forces of nature and human folly threaten to destroy a way of life.
"One doesn't so much read Ghosh's masterful fifth novel as inhabit his characters and the alluring if treacherous Sundarban archipelago, 'the ragged fringe of [India's] sari,' where it is set. The author's nuanced descriptions of the moods and microenvironments of the islands serve as a lush backdrop for an intricate narrative that moves fluidly between past and present. Hoping to make her mark in the cetological world, Piyali Roy, an Indian-American marine biologist, travels across the Sundarbans in search of the once plentiful Irrawaddy dolphin. Piyali befriends both an illiterate fisherman, Fokir, who leads her to a dolphin-rich river enclave, and a successful interpreter, Kanai Dutt, who has arrived in the region from New Delhi to retrieve his deceased uncle Nirmal's journal. Through Nirmal, a Rilke-quoting former school headmaster and erstwhile revolutionary, Ghosh recounts the history of the islands with an unsentimental melancholy. Nirmal's account of the true story of the 1979 siege of Morichjhapi, in which destitute squatters were brutally evicted by the Indian government in order to preserve a wildlife sanctuary, poignantly displays the author's gift for traversing the fiction/nonfiction boundary. Ghosh (The Glass Palace, etc.), however, is uninterested in setting up simple good/evil binaries and instead weds the issues of love, language and land to the unfolding relationships among Piyali, Fokir and Kanai. The philosophical and moral implications of their actions remain simmering just below the surface. The climactic ending, in which a cyclone threatens the inhabitants of the Sundarbans, underscores Nirmal's observation that 'nothing escapes the maw of the tides.' Agent, Barney Karpfinger. (May) Forecast: Following Ghosh's international bestseller The Glass Palace and set in a region of India recently much in the news because of the tsunami, this should do very well as the author's first title for Houghton Mifflin. Eight-city author tour; foreign rights sold in 12 countries. " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] complex narrative filled with echoes of Naipaul and especially Conrad....A bit bumpy; still, overall, Ghosh's fifth is one of his most interesting." Kirkus Reviews
A contemporary story of adventure and romance, identity and history, this novel brings two outsiders deep into one of the most fascinating regions on Earth — tiny islands known as the Sundarbans off the coast of India — where life is ruled by the unforgiving tides and the constant threat of attack by Bengal tigers.
From the author of the international bestseller The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide is a novel of adventure and romance set in the exotic Sundarbans — treacherous islands in the Bay of Bengal where isolated inhabitants live in fear of drowning tides and man-eating tigers. A headstrong young American arrives in this lush landscape to study a rare species of river dolphin. She enlists the aid of a local fisherman and a translator, and soon their fates on the waterways will be determined by the forces of nature and human folly.
A contemporary story of adventure, history, and identity by acclaimed author Amitav Ghosh.
Off the easternmost corner of India, in the Bay of Bengal, lies the immense labyrinth of tiny islands known as the Sundarbans, where settlers live in fear of drowning tides and man-eating tigers. Piya Roy, a young American marine biologist of Indian descent, arrives in this lush, treacherous landscape in search of a rare species of river dolphin and enlists the aid of a local fisherman and a translator. Together the three of them launch into the elaborate backwaters, drawn unawares into the powerful political undercurrents of this isolated corner of the world that exact a personal toll as fierce as the tides.
The Hungry Tide is a very contemporary story of adventure and unlikely love, identity and history, set in one of the most fascinating regions on the earth. Off the easternmost coast of India, in the Bay of Bengal, lies the immense labyrinth of tiny islands known as the Sundarbans. For settlers here, life is extremely precarious. Attacks by deadly tigers are common. Unrest and eviction are constant threats. Without warning, at any time, tidal floods rise and surge over the land, leaving devastation in their wake.
In this place of vengeful beauty, the lives of three people from different worlds collide. Piya Roy is a young marine biologist, of Indian descent but stubbornly American, in search of a rare, endangered river dolphin. Her journey begins with a disaster, when she is thrown from a boat into crocodile-infested waters. Rescue comes in the form of a young, illiterate fisherman, Fokir. Although they have no language between them, Piya and Fokir are powerfully drawn to each other, sharing an uncanny instinct for the ways of the sea. Piya engages Fokir to help with her research and finds a translator in Kanai Dutt, a businessman from Delhi whose idealistic aunt and uncle are longtime settlers in the Sundarbans. As the three of them launch into the elaborate backwaters, they are drawn unawares into the hidden undercurrents of this isolated world, where political turmoil exacts a personal toll that is every bit as powerful as the ravaging tide.
Already an international success, The Hungry Tide is a prophetic novel of remarkable insight, beauty, and humanity.
About the Author
Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956 and raised and educated in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran, Egypt, India, and the United Kingdom, where he received his Ph.D. in social anthropology from Oxford. Acclaimed for fiction, travel writing, and journalism, his books include The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In an Antique Land, and Dancing in Cambodia. His previous novel, The Glass Palace, was an international bestseller that sold more than a half-million copies in Britain. Recently published there, The Hungry Tide has been sold for translation in twelve foreign countries and is also a bestseller abroad. Ghosh has won France's Prix Medici Etranger, India's prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Pushcart Prize. He is a visiting scholar at Harvard University.
Table of Contents
part one The Ebb: Bhata 1
part two The Flood: Jowar 147
authors note 330
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