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May 13, 2008

Amitav Ghosh – Sea of Poppies

In this instance, it is not my intention to review this novel – indeed, I think it will require some re-readings before I would feel able to do it justice. No, I simply wanted to share a few thoughts on it.

It comes across as one of those magnificent ‘epic’ novels, breathtaking in its sweep, breadth, range, and richness of detail. I will freely admit that I was eager to read this latest from Ghosh; The Glass Palace was one of his works I enjoyed very much, but not quite a masterpiece; The Hungry Tide however, the novel preceding this one, was very close to perfection in its form and execution, and I exulted in the reading of it. I definitely hoped (even while trying to quash the hopes lest they failed to be fulfilled) this novel would scale the same dizzying heights – and oh my, what an amazing feeling when one’s hopes and expectations are not only met, but exceeded!

Having finished reading Sea of Poppies, I sincerely believe very few novelists can rival Ghosh at the height of his considerable powers. His work transcends genres, and in this latest, he seems to have unleashed the full might of his literary powers: this novel is dazzling and exquisitely sculpted. Ghosh is simply a consummate storyteller. His language is gorgeous, fluent, sweeping, rich, beautifully controlled, never a heartbeat off pace – in fact, there is not a single faltering note in this very grand symphony, with its vast cast of diverse characters, each so marvelously wrought to life.

The novel pushes off very quickly, it doesn’t appear to have any ‘shallows’, and it was a thrill to be immediately caught up in this novel’s mighty flow, cresting its energy and momentum, until its conclusion deposited me, exhilarated and tinglingly alive. I just cannot wait for an opportunity to reread it again – and again – and again.

Posted by Lisa Lau at May 13, 2008 03:03 AM


Posted by: Anonymous at May 13, 2008 03:03 AM

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