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Sea of Poppies: A Novel (The Ibis Trilogy) Paperback – September 29, 2009
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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“A wonderful book, a large ambitious novel in which extraordinary people come to life and vibrant, exotic places are memorably depicted.” ―The Rocky Mountain News
“A delight . . . [Ghosh's] descriptions bring a lost world to life.” ―The Washington Post
“Brilliant...By the book's stormy and precarious ending, most readers will clutch it like the ship's rail awaiting, just like Ghosh's characters, the rest of the voyage to a destination unknown.” ―USA Today
“Ghosh's best and most ambitious work yet. . . . Ghosh writes with impeccable control, and with a vivid and sometimes surprising imagination.” ―The New Yorker
“Ghosh, on behalf of history, is unforgiving, but his novel is also a delight.” ―Miami Herald
“A storm tossed adventure worthy of Sir Walter Scott.” ―Vogue
“Amitav Ghosh's new novel speaks in tongues, marvelously capturing the polyglot nature of its characters. . . . Sea of Poppies is marvelous, its range and authority astonishing.” ―The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
“Sea of Poppies is a veritable cauldron of energy intermingling with craft.” ―Chicago Sun-Times
About the Author
AMITAV GHOSH is the internationally bestselling author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, including the novel The Glass Palace, and the recipient of numerous prizes and awards. He divides his time among Kolkata and Goa, India, and Brooklyn, New York.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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The book takes place in 1839. Although the Opium Wars are mentioned only in passing, it is their coming that sets the book in motion. All the characters’ lives revolve around opium in one way or another, whether it is growing poppies, working in processing factories, owning the land in which the poppies are grown, or running the trading companies that move opium into China. This is a time period and setting rarely explored in fiction. The story takes place on Ganges and Hooghly Rivers before moving to the Bay of Bengal. Historically, this is clearly an important region in world politics, but I know little about it.
The characters are all real and believable. They are all strangely and plausibly pulled into one another’s lives. They span a diverse gamut: from an American carpenter whose mother was a slave to lower caste Hindus, from colonial entrepreneurs to sailors of murky origins. Even when their backgrounds are shown in the narrative, many of the characters remain mysterious.
The language of the book is just beautiful. Ghosh mixes any number of foreign languages along with period words and slang to keep the book moving. Using context clues, it is very easy to see what each word or phrase means. The language serves to give the book color and depth. It is not necessary to understand every single word, although it is possible, because the characters always act in character, with logic according to their situation.
Lastly, the storytelling is spellbinding. It is cliché to say that Ghosh “weaves” storylines together, but he does. He runs with one storyline and only in its last paragraph does the reader realize the connection with another story or character. This is artful, modern, and very poetic.
I have recently tried to branch out and read more fiction. Ghosh shows exactly why I should be reading more fiction. I look forward to reading the next two books in this series.
I like the book for its story, language and atmosphere, but it really makes me ponder that whether or not a book in a trilogy should be judged separately, and whether or not a book in a trilogy should be self-contained?
The book itself? A triumph of character development. And if you're the sort of reader who likes to finish a book with the satisfaction of having learned a great deal about cultures, religion, friendship, geography, history, and gratitude, this story is for you.
Most recent customer reviews
Sea of Poppies reads to me like classic literature, like reading Moby Dick or Dickens.Read more