At the heart of this vibrant saga is an immense ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean, its purpose to fight China?s vicious nineteenth-century Opium Wars. As for the crew, they are a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts.In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt Raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship brothers. An unlikely dynasty is born, which will span continents, races, and generations.The vast sweep of this historical adventure embraces the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the crowded backstreets of Canton. But it is the panorama of characters, whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, that makes Sea of Poppies so breathtakingly alive ? a masterpiece from one of the world?s finest novelists."Such is the power of Ghosh's precise, understated prose that one occasionally wishes to turn the pages three at a time, eager to find out where Ghosh's tale is headed." - The Boston Globe
The setting of Amitov Ghosh's deeply compelling novel is China during the time of the Opium Wars, when British colonial powers forced the mass cultivation of opium along the banks of the Ganges, relentlessly pushed the addictive drug on the people of China, and turned to military force to protect the dark trade when the Chinese emperor decreed a ban on the flower. Against this unsettling backdrop, Ghosh assembles a cast of characters as motley and exotic as they are psychologically rich and complex: the young wife of an opium addict, ****** by her brother-in-law, and barely rescued from being forced to burn herself alive; her savior and lover, a lower-caste man who becomes the target of a massive manhunt; the daughter of a French scientist who was raised by an Indian nanny; a freed slave from Baltimore with a mysterious past; and many more, each as colorfully evoked as the novel's lustrous descriptions. All eventually become passengers aboard the Ibis, a ship bound for Africa, and the interplay at sea of their histories, motivations, and desires is a pleasure to read. SEA OF POPPIES was selected as one of the Best Books of the Year by Publishers Weekly and short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2008.
- Fiction + Literature Genres, Fiction + Literature Themes
- Historical Fiction, Medicine + Health, Politics, Society + Social Issues, Settings, War + Military, Conflicts + Dualities, General, Literary Genres + Types of Novels
- September 27, 2011
- September 27, 2011
- Amitav Ghosh
- Phil Gigante (Narrator)