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Sea of Poppies: A Novel (The Ibis Trilogy) Hardcover – October 14, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
The year is 1838, and Asia is on the eve of the Opium Wars. The fates of several people become intertwined, as they make their way onto the Ibis. Deeti is a peasant who grows crops of opium, and a wife of the opium factory worker, addicted to the drug. When her husband dies, grey-eyed Deeti has to escape the attention of her vicious brother-in-law. Her only idea is the sati - but unexpectedly, she is snatched from the funeral pyre and becomes an outcast together with her savior, Kalua, the village strongman from the caste of untouchables. They decide to become indentured workers ("coolies") and seek their happiness in the Mauritius. Paulette Lambert, the daughter of a French botanist, is orphaned and cannot bear the strange behavior of Mr Burnham (who happens to be the owner of Ibis), and his family, when he takes her under his protective roof. Neel Rattan, the Raja, finds himself unable to adjust to the changing ways of the colonial world, and, bankrupt, is send to exile. In jail, he meets the half-Chinese Ah Fatt, convicted for robbery. Baboo Nob Kissin (the funniest and probably the most tragic of the main characters), the company's accountant, filled with religious spirit, is overcome by the need of establishing a shrine. All of these original, hilarious characters come to see the overseas trip as an escape. And so their journey is the new beginning.Read more ›
Beautifully styled - extravagantly written. I've not read other works by Amitav Ghosh, so I'm not familiar with his stylistic strategies, but "The Sea of Poppies," is written with the love of language I've come to expect from Indian novelists. Mr. Ghosh has captured both the English and the "Hing-lish," of the Victorian Age, and enriched it with a delightful and descriptive patois and pidgin. I don't know how much Mr. Ghosh has invented whole cloth, and how much is a result of research, but it's hugely entertaining, and perhaps near genius. Yes, it does leave you slightly at sea in terms of full understanding, but I find that to be part of the charm. (I've nodded my head in befuddlement in many countries.) It reminds me of the language recorded in the Booker Prize winning, Sacred Hunger" by Barry Unsworth, another beautifully written novel about fretful times.
Well researched. Even as a student of India, the scenes and details of "The Sea of Poppies," were new to me.Read more ›
Set in India in 1838, at the outset of the three-year Opium War between the British and the Chinese, this epic novel follows several characters from different levels of society who become united through their personal lives aboard the ship and, more generally, through their connections to the opium and slave trades. Deeti Singh, married as a young teenager to a man whose dependence on opium makes him an inadequate husband and provider, is forced to work on the family's opium field outside Ghazipur by herself, though she fears her sadistic brother-in-law. Zachary Reid, a young sailor from Baltimore has left America because his status as an octoroon has led to constant harassment by other American sailors.
At the opposite end of the scale is Benjamin Burnham, who owns the Ibis and engages in the opium trade. Formerly a slave trader, Burnham now transports exiled prisoners and coolies, and he has acquired enormous wealth and a lavish lifestyle impossible for him in England. Among his acquaintances is Raja Neel Rattan Halder, the zemindar of Raskali, who, accustomed to the unimaginable opulence that upper caste Brahmins assume is their right by birth, has paid little attention to his dwindling resources, and he has now accumulated debts.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I hardly ever not finish a book, but this was really an unpleasant read. I felt like I was reading a foreign language for too much of it. A real disappointmentPublished 11 days ago by Mamadele
The Sea of Poppies, the first book in the Ibis trilogy by Anita's Ghosh is a magnificent novel of India and China during the middle of the nineteenth century when Britain was... Read morePublished 26 days ago by marius
Interesting novel of the opium trade by way of Indian culture. There's a lot of Indians words or terms used throughout book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by GRAHAM MARTIN
Although a majority of these reviews give “Sea of Poppies” 4 or 5 stars, I have to agree with those reviews who acknowledge the intriguing premise, depth of character development,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This story is kind of hard to get into. It has a lot of words I'm not familiar with (created with combinations of languages other than English if I understand it correctly). Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kihei Readers
This is the best nonfiction work I have read in the past twelve months. This is an incredible book. Complex with incomparable writing. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mendel Mordecai
There is a long build-up to the characters and story lines in the book and everything seems to be disconnected at first, but if you stick through for a few chapters, everything... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Vaishali Garga