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The Calcutta Chromosome: A Novel of Fevers, Delirium & Discoveryby Amitav Ghosh
Synopses & Reviews
It begins in a near future New York City, when Antar, a low-level programmer and data analyst for a large bureaucratic concern, comes upon the lost and battered I.D. card of a man he once knew - a man who vanished without a trace somewhere in the teeming excess of Calcutta, India, several years before. Strangely compelled, Antar initiates a search into the facts behind the disappearance of the enigmatic L. Murugan, and is unwittingly drawn into a bizarre alternate history of medical science. Leaping backward in time, we join Murugan in Calcutta in 1995, as he follows the twisted threads of science, counter-science and ritual back a hundred years further to the laboratory of Ronald Ross, the British scientist who discovered how malaria is transmitted to humans. Obsessed with the weird, fortuitous coincidences that led to Ross' groundbreaking discovery, Murugan has stumbled upon evidence of an impossible ongoing experiment in controlled destiny, protected by a powerful unseen society that moves the world in secret and in silence. Suddenly, every fact hitherto known can no longer be trusted, for everything has been revealed to be other than it appears. In this steamy, overcrowded city of clashing cultures and hidden faces, L. Murugan has opened a Pandora's Box that carefully orchestrated death and misdirection have long kept shut.
"Intricate, intelligent, and exceptionally inventive, with staccato bursts of startling writing—a truly fresh and original novel by an exceptional writer." Peter Mathiessen
"As pure fiction, the book succeeds brilliantly...Ghosh writes skillfully, the mood is entrancing, the plot intruguing, and the world he creates is rich and enticing. "Christian Science Monitor
"A richly plotted literary thriller?Like Pynchon, Ghosh creates a world in which conspiracies, big conspiracies, lurk everywhere." Publishers Weekly
"A finely carved mystery." James Saynor, NY Times Book Review
From Victorian lndia to near-future New York, The Calcutta Chromosome takes readers on a wondrous journey through time as a computer programmer trapped in a mind-numbing job hits upon a curious item that will forever change his life. When Antar discovers the battered I.D. card of a long-lost acquaintance, he is suddenly drawn into a spellbinding adventure across centuries and around the globe, into the strange life of L. Murugan, a man obsessed with the medical history of malaria, and into a magnificently complex world where conspiracy hangs in the air like mosquitoes on a summer night.
About the Author
Writer and anthropologist Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956 and spent his childhood in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and northern India. He studied in Delhi, Oxford and Egypt, and has taught in various Indian and American universities. He is the author of three books: The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines and In An Antique Land and has written for The New Yorker, Granta, The New Republic and The New York Times. Mr. Ghosh and his wife, Deborah Baker, live in New York with their two children.
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