Sea of Poppies is a stunningly vibrant and intensely human work that confirms Amitav Ghosh’s reputation as a master storyteller. At the heart of this epic saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean to the Mauritius Islands. As to the people on board, they are a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts. In a time of colonial upheaval in the mid-nineteenth century, fate has thrown together a truly diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt Raja to a widowed village-woman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited European orphan. As they sail down the Hooghly and into the sea, their old family ties are washed away, and they view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers, who will build whole new lives for themselves in the remote islands where they are being taken. It is the beginning of an unlikely dynasty.
June 1, 2009
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About the Author
Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956 and raised and educated in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran, Egypt, India and the United Kingdom, where he received his Ph.D. in social anthropology from Oxford. Acclaimed for fiction, travel writing and journalism, his books include The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In an Antique Land and Dancing in Cambodia. His previous novel, The Glass Palace, was an international bestseller that sold more than a half-million copies in Britain. Recently published there, The Hungry Tide has been sold for translation in twelve foreign countries and is also a bestseller abroad. Ghosh has won France's Prix Medici Etranger, India's prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Pushcart Prize. He now divides his time between Harvard University, where he is a visiting professor and his homes in India and Brooklyn, New York.
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