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At the Opium Factory

David Simpson: Amitav Ghosh, 22 October 2009

Sea of Poppies 
by Amitav Ghosh.
Murray, 544 pp., £7.99, April 2009, 978 0 7195 6897 8
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... the clear flow of international English with unreadable words and untranslatable situations. Amitav Ghosh has proved himself a master of both these strategies while hanging on to a conventionally appealing framework of erotic romance and exotic adventure, with a good dose of the quasi-magical. In The Circle of Reason (1986), his first ...

Looking for Bomma

James Clifford, 24 March 1994

In an Antique Land 
by Amitav Ghosh.
Granta, 400 pp., £6.99, February 1994, 0 14 014017 4
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... In his novel, The Shadow Lines, Amitav Ghosh writes of an Indian family whose members cross and recross two geopolitical borders. One border joins and divides Calcutta and London, the other Calcutta and Dhaka. Toward the end of the book the narrator’s failing grandmother prepares for a return visit to the city she left, years before, when India was partitioned: Dhaka, East Pakistan, now Bangladesh ...

If on a winter’s night a cyclone

Thomas Jones: ‘The Great Derangement’, 18 May 2017

The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable 
by Amitav Ghosh.
Chicago, 176 pp., £15.50, September 2016, 978 0 226 32303 9
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... Reading​ Amitav Ghosh’s book, I realised something that I feel naive for not having thought of before: trying to convince ‘climate sceptics’ of the reality of anthropogenic climate change is a waste of time. By ‘climate sceptics’ I don’t mean the apparently growing number of people who don’t believe in climate change because they were freezing cold this winter and trust what Donald Trump or Nigel Farage tells them on Fox News or the BBC ...

Freedom to Tango

Michael Wood: Contemporary Indian English novels, 19 April 2001

Babu Fictions: Alienation in Contemporary Indian English Novels 
by Tabish Khair.
Oxford, 407 pp., £21.50, March 2001, 0 19 565296 7
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An Obedient Father 
by Akhil Sharma.
Faber, 282 pp., £9.99, January 2001, 0 571 20673 5
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The Death of Vishnu 
by Manil Suri.
Bloomsbury, 329 pp., £16.99, February 2001, 0 7475 5270 3
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The Glass Palace 
by Amitav Ghosh.
HarperCollins, 551 pp., £16.99, July 2000, 0 00 226102 2
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... into detailed analyses of work by Raja Rao, R.K. Narayan, V.S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie and Amitav Ghosh. Ghosh is Khair’s anti-Rushdie (‘Rushdie continues to write with only a fractional awareness of the complexities of alienation’), a sort of demystified, theoretically alert version of Narayan or ...

Mr Down-by-the-Levee

Thomas Jones: Updike’s Terrorist, 7 September 2006

by John Updike.
Hamish Hamilton, 310 pp., £17.99, August 2006, 0 241 14351 9
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... Terrorist in the New York Times, described Ahmad as a ‘completely unbelievable individual’. Amitav Ghosh in the Washington Post said that ‘there is nothing plausible about the characters of this book: only two of them are halfway believable, and they are Jack Levy and Ahmad’s Irish-American mother. It is no accident, perhaps, that neither of ...

All the News Is Bad

Francis Gooding: Our Alien Planet, 1 August 2019

The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future 
by David Wallace-Wells.
Allen Lane, 320 pp., £20, February 2019, 978 0 241 35521 3
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... and implications of climate change short-circuit the imagination. Wallace-Wells cites the novelist Amitav Ghosh, who has suggested that we fail to put climate change into proper perspective because we don’t yet have the stories to comprehend it. Even the refrains ‘by 2100’ or ‘by 2050’ seem more like magic charms, pushing the disaster into an ...

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