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November 25, 2015 / subramanyam

The Hungry Tide :: Book Review


“Sister of my Heart” took me to West Bengal and I am yet to come out of that state.  After reading that book, I picked up Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide.  I have always heard great things about Amitav Ghosh and wanted to read his works.  When I found an offer on this book in Kindle I could not resist buying the book.  Here is the blurb of the book. (From GoodReads)

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 ofThe Hungry Tide 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.

A researcher of aquatic mammals, a polyglot who runs a translation business, memoirs of a Head Master,  a lady who runs a women empowerment trust, a woman who wants to make it big in her life and a man who loves nothing but the waters of Sunderbans are the pivotal characters of the book.  Then we have the original inhabitants of the Sunderbans; the wild animals, the big cats and the crocodiles  who don’t like humans coming their way.  Amitav Ghosh makes  these people, these animals and the nature interact with each other and creates a story that would leave an indelible impression on  its readers.

Set in the heart of Mangrove forests and the scattered islands of Eastern India, this is a book has its own magic.  It might not be a page turner, but it is a book that makes the readers travel to the new world, identify themselves with the characters and make the troubles, the

Ghosh_05

The Author — Amitav Ghosh

travails, the joys, the sorrows and the blissful moments of the characters of the story their own.

The author spends the first few chapters in setting up the base of the story and creating a proper sketch of his characters.  The characters evolve as we keep reading the book, the way they evolved was good  and I liked it.  The characters start asking deep questions and start growing internally, so while we read something on the surface there is something that is unsaid that strikes us. I liked that approach of the author. Then, the author  describes things with vivid imagery, for example when a beast attacks one of the characters in the book, the reader would even see its jaws before he completes reading that incident.  This reflects the author’s prowess as a story teller.

There was a tremendous amount of research that went into this book.  The author speaks about Dolphins, types and varieties of them, their natural instincts, their relation with the city of  Kolkata, the other water mammals that have a relationship with these ones etc …  That was really good to read.    Then, almost every page of the book made me consult my Kindle dictionary.  The vocabulary of the author is amazing.   You also get to learn some good number of things about History while reading the book and to me,  that’s the icing on the cake.

I did feel that there was a drag in the pace of the story at times, but I believe that this is a minor glitch.

All in all, a book worth picking.  From science to class conflict and from revolution to love this novel has it all.  Do pick it up when you have time. I promise, you would not regret picking it up. Happy Reading.

Image Source :  1. http://i.imgur.com/z5zcDJTm.jpg

                             2. http://www.amitavghosh.com/images/Ghosh_05.jpg

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