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The Hungry Tideby Amitav Ghosh
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the international bestseller and reading-group favorite The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide is a novel of adventure and romance set in the exotic Sundarbans, the treacherous islands in the Bay of Bengal where isolated inhabitants live in constant fear of the drowning tides and man-eating tigers.
When a headstrong, young American marine biologist, the daughter of Bengali immigrants, arrives to study a rare species of river dolphin, she enlists the aid of a local fisherman and a translator. Their fates on the waterways will be determined by the forces of nature and human folly. With this lush landscape as backdrop, Amitav Ghosh tells both an intimate story of self-discovery and an epic story of the clash between civilization and the environment.
"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.)
"Ghosh not only infuses great energy and spirit into an engrossing tale of caste and culture, he deftly introduces readers to a little-known world and makes it familiar." Entertainment Weekly
"The Hungry Tide is a great swirl of political, social, and environmental issures, presented through a story that's full of romance, suspense, and poetry." The Washington Post
"[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 brings two outsiders deep into the 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.
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.
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.
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 now divides his time between Harvard University, where he is a visiting professor, and his homes in India and Brooklyn, New York.
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