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The Calcutta Chromosome: A Novel of Fevers, Delirium & Discovery Paperback – January 23, 2001
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Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book has its ups and downs, and ultimately sucks you in the last 100 pages, and cruelly leaves you staring face to face with a brick wall. A main character keeps on saying "Don't you see?" and "Can't you see it?" to another character. I felt like the author was patronizing me, because I could not make the connections. I went back and reread a bit, and it turns out that seemingly trivial information stated at the beginning of the book is key to understanding the end. I agree with other reviewers about the scene at the railway station...breathtaking. Rarely have I had such a vivid picture painted in my head while reading...but frustratingly, this act does not seem to tie in to the rest of the story at all...or does it? Maybe I'm just not smart enough to make the connections. I'm not the type to go back and read entire novels again just to understand what the heck the point of the book was. If you aren't either (and if you are any less than a genius), than you may want to skip this one.
However, for all the blurb evocations, this is no Borges, nor Pynchon. I see why the comparisons were drawn, but there are some major plot and even ... call them philosophical... flaws that drag The Calcutta Chromosome back from a really good book to a fun read on the 'plane.
Basically, there is a vast and bizarre conspiracy, which, while entertaining, is founded on mushy, ill thought-out motives. There is an attempt to evoke an east/west - mysticism/logic thing, but it collapses under its own inconsistencies to reveal a balding plot device wearing a toupee of picturesque Oriental mystics.
Finally, there is quite a bit of pseudo-scientific and technological hand waving. This will bother some more than others. The point that technology can be like magic is relevant, and in places I can forgive the more nonsensical bits as contributing to a good story. There are other incidents, particularly the absurdly retrieved e-mail, which could have been tied into other themes in the story but weren't. Instead, I was left with the impression that Ghosh wrote himself into a bit of a corner and couldn't be bothered to take some more plausible method of getting himself out.
Sit back, fit together the edge pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, admire the pretty picture, and try not to be disappointed if you find a few of the middle pieces missing.
This is a novel worth reading twice.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was curious to see how a celebrated literary fiction writer pulls off a genre fiction novel. I must say I have mixed feelings about the outcome. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Papyrus Reviews
The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh is easily one of the most discomforting reads I’ve ever encountered. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Melody
Great Condition. This was for my son's college course. I ended up reading the whole book. I loved it!!!!!!! Another good reading.Published 22 months ago by Joanne Dalton
I loved the mix of mystery, science and science fiction. Ghosh is a master of the subcontinent's family sagas and here he extends his grasp to another genre. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Helena Clift
There's a great scope to this book. It constantly keeps you trying to connect the dots and leaves you with an ambiguous sense of much larger forces. Arrived on time.Published on January 19, 2014 by Dan
The Calcutta Chromosome is the third novel by Indian author, Amitav Ghosh. Egyptian-born Antar, an employee of the International Water Council sits working from home in his New... Read morePublished on January 3, 2014 by Cloggie Downunder