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Sea of Poppies

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Sea of Poppies Cover

ISBN13: 9780374174224
ISBN10: 0374174229
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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hipwatermama, February 13, 2010 (view all comments by hipwatermama)
Imagine stowing away on a coolie transport ship from Calcutta to Mauritius, as a woman. Imagine being a free black man from America who rises from ship worker to captain on the journey to India. Imagine being a poppy farmer with a opium addicted spouse and a cruel family in-law. A novel could follow just one of these people with great success, but in Sea of Poppies, each comes to life. Amitav Ghosh weaves together in their entwined lives and leaves the reader wanting to continue on this journey of the Ibis. I can't wait to read the rest of the stories.
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hipwatermama, February 13, 2010 (view all comments by hipwatermama)
Imagine stowing away on a coolie transport ship from Calcutta to Mauritius, as a woman. Imagine being a free black man from America who rises from ship worker to captain on the journey to India. Imagine being a poppy farmer with a opium addicted spouse and a cruel family in-law. A novel could follow just one of these people with great success, but in Sea of Poppies, each comes to life. Amitav Ghosh weaves together in their entwined lives and leaves the reader wanting to continue on this journey of the Ibis. I can't wait to read the rest of the stories.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374174224
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Ghosh, Amitav
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
History
Subject:
Voyages and travels
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Travelers
Subject:
Historical
Copyright:
Edition Description:
1st
Series Volume:
1
Publication Date:
October 2008
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Map/Chrestomathy
Pages:
528
Dimensions:
9.00 x 6.00 in

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Sea of Poppies Used Hardcover
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$11.50 In Stock
Product details 528 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374174224 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Diaspora, myth and a fascinating language mashup propel the Rubik's cube of plots in Ghosh's picaresque epic of the voyage of the Ibis, a ship transporting Indian 'girmitiyas' (coolies) to Mauritius in 1838. The first two-thirds of the book chronicles how the crew and the human cargo come to the vessel, now owned by rising opium merchant Benjamin Burnham. Mulatto second mate Zachary Reid, a 20-year-old of Lord Jim — like innocence, is passing for white and doesn't realize his secret is known to the 'gomusta' (overseer) of the coolies, Baboo Nob Kissin, an educated Falstaffian figure who believes Zachary is the key to realizing his lifelong mission. Among the human cargo, there are three fugitives in disguise, two on the run from a vengeful family and one hoping to escape from Benjamin. Also on board is a formerly high caste raj who was brought down by Benjamin and is now on his way to a penal colony. The cast is marvelous and the plot majestically serpentine, but the real hero is the English language, which has rarely felt so alive and vibrant." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "The novel presents itself as a tale of opium and pirates and cruelty and love, but at its best, Sea of Poppies is a celebration of language — its idiosyncrasies, its prejudices, its humor, cruelty, freedom, and, finally, its generous, open-armed invitation to escape." (read the entire New York Review of Books review)
"Review" by , "A historical novel crammed almost to the bursting point with incidents and characters, but Ghosh deftly keeps everything under control....Planned as the first of a trilogy, this astonishing, mesmerizing launch will be hard to top."
"Review" by , "With intimations of Dickens and Melville, Ghosh's vital saga encompasses suspense and satire, perverse cruelty and profound kindness, and the countless ways humans conceal desire and fear behind arrogance and brutality."
"Review" by , "Unfortunately, this first entry in a proposed trilogy is uneven, trying to combine historical fiction with a comedy of manners, a maritime adventure, and a treatise on class/gender discrimination and ending abruptly with no resolution for those who may not want to wait for the sequel."
"Review" by , "[A] remarkably rich saga...which has plenty of action and adventure à la Dumas, but moments also of Tolstoyan penetration — and a drop or two of Dickensian sentiment."
"Review" by , "Bedazzling....Sea of Poppies...revisits in new, breathtakingly detailed and compelling ways some of the concerns of [Ghosh's] earlier novels....We await with eagerness the second volume of the trilogy."
"Synopsis" by , At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis, whose destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean, and whose purpose is to fight China's vicious 19th-century Opium Wars. This adventure spans landscapes from the lush poppy fields of the Ganges to the exotic backstreets of Canton.
"Synopsis" by ,

The first in an epic trilogy, Sea of Poppies is "a remarkably rich saga . . . which has plenty of action and adventure à la Dumas, but moments also of Tolstoyan penetration--and a drop or two of Dickensian sentiment" (The Observer [London]).

At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Her destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China. In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners on board, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers. The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of Canton. With a panorama of characters whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, Sea of Poppies is "a storm-tossed adventure worthy of Sir Walter Scott" (Vogue).

 

"Synopsis" by ,

A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2008

A Chicago Tribune Best Book of 2008

A Washington Post Best Book of 2008

An Economist Best Book of 2008

A New York Best Book of 2008

A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of 2008

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2008

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean; its purpose, to fight Chinas vicious nineteenth-century Opium Wars. As for the crew, they are a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts.

In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a freespirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers. An unlikely dynasty is born, which will span continents, races, and generations.

The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, the exotic backstreets of Canton. But it is the panorama of characters, whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, that makes Sea of Poppies so breathtakingly alivea masterpiece from one of the worlds finest novelists.

Amitav Ghosh is the internationally bestselling author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Glass Palace, and is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. Ghosh divides his time between Kolkata and Goa, India, and Brooklyn, New York.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
An Economist Best Book of the Year

A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year

A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

At the heart of this vibrant story is a vast ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean to fight Chinas vicious nineteenth-century Opium Wars. The crew is a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts.

 
In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a freespirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers. An unlikely dynasty is born, which will span continents, races, and generations.
 
This historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, the exotic backstreets of Canton. But it is the panorama of characters, whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, that makes Sea of Poppies so vibrant.
"Ghosh's best and most ambitious work yet is an adventure story set in nineteenth-century Calcutta against the backdrop of the Opium Wars. On the Ibis, a ship engaged in transporting opium across the Bay of Bengal, varied life stories converge. A fallen raja, a half-Chinese convict, a plucky American sailor, a widowed opium farmer, a transgendered religious visionary are all united by the 'smoky paradise' of the opium seed. Ghosh writes with impeccable control, and with a vivid and sometimes surprising imagination: a woman's tooth protrudes 'like a tilted gravestone'; an opium addict's writhing spasms are akin to 'looking at a pack of rats squirming in a sack'; the body of a young man is 'a smoking crater that had just risen from the ocean and was still waiting to be explored.'"The New Yorker
"In 1883, the British government sent the accomplished linguist Sir George Griers­on to look into alleged abuses in the recruitment of indentured servants from India (known as 'coolies') who ended up on ships bound for British plantations throughout the world. In his diary, Grierson wrote about an encounter with the father of one female coolie in a village along the Ganges, noting that the man 'denied having any such relative, and probably she had gone wrong and been disowned by him.' The historical record provides only a trace of this woman: a name, a processing number, a year of emigration. In his ambitious new novel, Sea of Poppies, a finalist for this years Man Booker Prize, Amitav Ghosh attempts to fill in the blanks left by the archives. Set partly in Bengal, the scene of Griersons inquiry, and drawing on accounts the Englishman left, it opens in 1838 on the eve of the Opium Wars. A former slave ship called the Ibis has been refitted to transport coolies from Calcutta to the sugar estates of Mauritius, and for hundreds of pages we watch as its crew and passengers are slowly assembled until it finally gets on its way. The first in a projected trilogy, Sea of Poppies is big and baggy, a self-styled epic with colossal themes and almost a dozen major characters, including the son of an American slave (who is passing as white), the orphaned daughter of a French botanist (who is passing as a coolie) and an Anglophile raja (who has been wrongly sentenced to a penal colony on Mauritius). But a majority onboard are Indian peasants from the opium-­producing countryside, forced by famine or scandal to seek a new life elsewhere. Devoted to reinvention, Ghoshs plot focuses on one of these villagers: Deeti, a widow who assumes another name and the (lower) caste of a new love as they escape to­gether on the Ibis."Gaiutra Bahadur, The New York Times Book Review

"Today it seems no year goes by without yet another Indian novel announcing its entry into the global canon, confirming Indian writing as among the most innovative and interesting anywhere.Over the last two decades, the Indian author Amitav Ghosh has established himself as a writer of uncommon talent who combines literary flair with a rare seriousness of purpose. His first novel, The Circle of Reason, seemed very much in the Rushdie magical-realist tradition, but he has evolved considerably since then, notably in works like The Shadow Lines and more recently The Glass Palace, which deal movingly and powerfully with the dislocations of post-imperial politics in Bengal and Burma. Sea of Poppies, his sixth novel (and the first of a projected trilogy), marks both a departure and an arrival. It sees Ghosh painting upon a larger canvas than ever before, with a multitude of characters and an epic vision; and the novel is his first to be shortlisted for Britain's Man Booker Prize, one of two Indian novels in a list of six. The year is 1838, and the setting British India, a country immiserated by colonial rule, as fertile agricultural lands are swamped by the flower of the novel's title, grown to produce opium that the British are exporting to addicts in an increasingly resistant China. Hungry Indian peasants, meanwhile, are being driven off their land, and many are recruited to serve as plantation laborers in far-off British colonies like Mauritius. Meanwhile, the clouds of war are looming, as British opium interests in India press for the use of force to compel the Chinese mandarins to keep open their ports, in the name of free tra

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