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The Glass Palace: A Novel Paperback – February 12, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
-DDavid W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, FL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, the structure and characterization in the novel do not live up to the quality of the historic and atmospheric detail. The book follows a fairly standard rags-to-riches story format, and in many cases the characters lack the complexity that Ghosh is able to bring to the surrounding environment. It's a disappointing lack in an otherwise stunning work.
It's worth saying as well that I found _The Glass Palace_ an incredibly *satisfying* read. I literally had a really hard time putting it down, and kept it in my purse to read on my lunch breaks and while waiting in lines. I suppose that's a fairly high recommendation in and of itself.
On top of this I found it intriguing that the story concentrated on a relatively unknown part of the British colonial past; Myanmar/Birma and it's relationships with India and Malaya.
Fianlly, unlike most historical novels, which originate from the former colonialists, this is written from the local perspective by a local writer.
The story itself is epical in proportion intertwining the stories of the banned King of Birma and his servants as well as the prospering of a young man in the timber trade. It spans various generations from the middle of the nineteenth century to the last years of the last century.
I have been fortunate enough to visit all three countries described in the recent months and I was fascinated by the way Gosh describes them. He has a wonderful feeling of observation and a poet's gift with words.
In particular the early part, in which Mandelay is the centre stage is done wonderfully.
The need Gosh feels to be exhaustive in all his historical facts sometimes is a bit awkward and artificial. However, the storytelling and the story line are good enough to keep the reader interested. I warmed to most of the characters and felt really part of the story.
A very good read for anybody who likes a good novel and in particular for those who are interested in this part of the world.
Based on the life and family of Rajkumar - a street urchin who finds himself penniless and orphaned in Burma - the sweeping story carries the reader across almost the entire 20th century beginning with the British Invasion of Burma in 1885 and carrying on through till sometime around 1990.
One of the central themes in the book is the role of the Indian Subcontinent as a tool of the British Empire as seen both from the eyes of Burmese residents whose country is overrun by Indian soldiers acting as 'mercenaries' of the British Raj and from the viewpoint of Indian Soldiers who later serve in the Army during World War II but find it impossible to come to terms with the duality of their existence - their ethos teach them to fight and die for country and yet they do not have a country to call their own; they are expected to lay down their lives fighting for the Empire but yet are never accorded the status of equals.
Having grown up in India we are taught (fleetingly) of the role of Indian Soldiers that battled loyally with the British - but the author presents an entirely different view point. Without judging he tries to potray how these soldiers - several of them illiterate and having to choose between a life in the Army or a life of penury - served as proxies for COlonialism and how they helped spread the very empire that holds them captive.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
wonderful story, great history of the time. Fascinating journey.Published 9 days ago by Super picky
I just got back from a trip to Myanmar and unfortunately didn't get a chance to read this before I went, although many people had suggested it. Read morePublished 10 days ago by JH
Excellent story, following in the steps of all the other Amitov Ghosh books I've read.Published 12 days ago by Kirby R. Thwing, Jr
Sweeping epic a la Laurence of Arabia or Dr. Zhivago. Great bookPublished 20 days ago by William Stockton
Pretty interesting book that contains a lot of factual info about the regionPublished 1 month ago by Jeanajoan
This was a great story to read! Really felt like I was beside the characters witnessing this first hand.Published 2 months ago by LokiLaney
Wow, wow, wow, Mr. Ghosh did it again.
This is a masterpiece, a true history novel. Every line reflects the years of research and the travels that were made, in the... Read more
Poorly written with no real sense of pacing or drama. It's a drag.Published 3 months ago by R. IYER
Mr. Ghosh feels at liberty to say ugly remarks about anyone who is white in his novel, while being
so sensitive to the feelings of the Burmese. Read more