Amitava Ghosh's first novel, The Circle of Reason, traces the story and adventures of Nachiketa Bose a.k.a Alu, a young weaver who is suspected of being a terrorist. Alu is a point of fascination for his uncle Balram due to his lumpy head. Lalakpur, a village in Bengal where Alu and uncle Balram are toying with their lives, is turned on its head one day by the differences between Balram and the village's leader, Bhudep Roy. The story takes a surprising turn when Alu is forced to find a new home.
While the first part of the book spans decades, the second is fast-paced and spread over a few weeks. And the third is like a thriller, as it races through a day.
The Circle of Reason follows Alu's flight across Kolkata, Goa, Mumbai, through the Persian Gulf to North Africa followed closely by Jyoti, a bird-watching inspector. Alu encounters a cast of characters, and the reader is drawn into their lives by compellingly visualised incidents.
Alus journey from an Indian village to Al-Ghazira in Egypt and later to a small town in Algeria does not bring any satisfaction or success. In fact, it celebrates the sense of wandering.
The Circle of Reason won the Prix Medici Etranger, one of the top literary awards in France. Other books by Amitava Ghosh include The Glass Palace, Sea of Poppies and River of Smoke.
Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956 and educated in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran, Egypt, India and the UK where he received his Ph.D. in social anthropology from Oxford. Ghosh has won Indias Sahitya Akademi Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Pushcart Prize.
The Circle of Reason is available online with the ISBN-10: 0143066501 and ISBN-13: 978-0143066507.