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Shortlisted for The Econimic Crossword Book Award 2011 in - English Fiction category & Popular Award category
In September 1838 a storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and the Ibis, a ship carrying a consignment of convicts and indentured labourers from Calcutta to Mauritius, is caught up in the whirlwind. When the seas settle, five men have disappeared—two lascars, two convicts and one of the passengers. Did the same storm upend the fortunes of those aboard the Anahita, an opium carrier heading towards Canton? And what fate befell those aboard the Redruth, a sturdy two-masted brig heading East out of Cornwall? Was it the storm that altered their course or were the destinies of these passengers at the mercy of even more powerful forces?
On the grand scale of an historical epic, River of Smoke follows its storm-tossed characters to the crowded harbours of China. There, despite efforts of the emperor to stop them, ships from Europe and India exchange their cargoes of opium for boxes of tea, silk, porcelain and silver. Among them are Bahram Modi, a wealthy Parsi opium merchant out of Bombay, his estranged half-Chinese son Ah Fatt, the orphaned amateur botanist Paulette and a motley collection of others in pursuit of romance, riches and a legendary rare flower. All struggle to cope with their losses—and, for some, unimaginable freedoms—in the alleys and crowded waterways of nineteenth-century Canton.
As transporting and mesmerizing as an opiate induced dream, River of Smoke, book two in Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis trilogy, will soon be heralded as a masterpiece of twenty-first century literature.
About The Author :
Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. He studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford, and has taught at a number of institutions. River of Smoke is the second in the Ibis Trilogy, the first of which, the bestselling Sea of Poppies, was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2008. Ghosh’s other works include The Circle of Reason, which won the Prix Médicis Étranger Award, The Shadow Lines (Sahitya Akademi Award), In an Antique Land, The Calcutta Chromosome (Arthur C. Clarke Award), Dancing in Cambodia and Other Essays, Countdown, The Glass Palace (Grand Prize for Fiction at the Frankfurt International e-books Awards), The Imam and the Indian and The Hungry Tide (Best work in English Fiction, Hutch Crossword Book Award). In 2007 he was awarded the Grinzane Cavour Prize and in 2010 the Dan David Prize.
Amitav Ghosh currently divides his time between Calcutta, Goa and Brooklyn.
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