Sea of Poppies

Sea of Poppies At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship the Ibis Her destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China In a time of colonial uphea

At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis Her destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners on board, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free spAt the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis Her destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners on board, 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 The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of Canton.

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Sea of Poppies

  1. Amitav Ghosh is one of India s best known writers His books include The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In An Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass Palace, Incendiary Circumstances, The Hungry Tide His most recent novel, Sea of Poppies, is the first volume of the Ibis Trilogy.Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956 He studied in Dehra Dun, New Delhi, Alexandria and Oxford and his first job was at the Indian Express newspaper in New Delhi He earned a doctorate at Oxford before he wrote his first novel, which was published in 1986.The Circle of Reason won the Prix Medicis Etranger, one of France s top literary awards, and The Shadow Lines won the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Ananda Puraskar The Calcutta Chromosome won the Arthur C Clarke Award for 1997 and The Glass Palace won the Grand Prize for Fiction at the Frankfurt International e Book Awards in 2001 The Hungry Tide won the Hutch Crossword Book Prize in 2006 In 2007 Amitav Ghosh was awarded the Grinzane Cavour Prize in Turin, Italy Amitav Ghosh has written for many publications, including the Hindu, The New Yorker and Granta, and he has served on the juries of several international film festivals, including Locarno and Venice He has taught at many universities in India and the USA, including Delhi University, Columbia, the City University of New York and Harvard He no longer teaches and is currently writing the next volume of the Ibis Trilogy.He is married to the writer, Deborah Baker, and has two children, Lila and Nayan He divides his time between Kolkata, Goa and Brooklyn.

343 Reply to “Sea of Poppies”

  1. I give a high place to Ghosh among contemporary English Authors from India.A saga of a ship, the Ibis, in the Indian Ocean and beautiful depiction of local characters in typical Indian way enthralled me and it kept me engaged with its characters and story.This is a sprawling novel and its historical treatment is wonderful.I am sure, as Ghosh also acknowledges that he has toiled really hard, doing research of this certain period from the past He has masterfully woven the economic hardship and ele [...]

  2. This rollicking adventure story about colonial India was beaten to the 2008 Booker Prize by The White Tiger, a novel that trades on its gritty realism but which is actually just as much a fantasy of Indian life as this one On the face of it, Sea of Poppies seems the enjoyable It has a huge, Dickensian cast that includes a fallen Rajah, a Chinese opium addict, a European girl gone native, a cross dressing reincarnated saint, an American freedman and a poppy farmer s widow, and its plot takes in [...]

  3. It has been said that the Ibis, a seafaring schooner, bound from Balti to Calcutta and destined to transport opium to China lay at the heart of this story and while I agree that the Ibis is central to the tale being told, the true heart of this saga and what ultimately brings together a diverse cast of characters is opium Rich in historical detail and panoramic views of land and sea this story is set in the 1830 s just on the cusp of the opium wars in China Ghosh expertly weaves together the bac [...]

  4. Sjajan pisac, divan ovek i prelepa knjiga Imala sam to zadovoljstvo da se dva puta sretnem s autorom, jednom na sajmu knjiga u Frankfurtu kada sam kupila prava za njegove knjige i kasnije na sajmu knjiga u Beogradu kada ve vi e nisam radila kod njegovog izdava a On toliko odi e toplinom i skromno u da elite da se to du e zadr ite u razgovoru s njim Na alost, kao da je izdava odustao od njega jer poslednje 4 godine ni ta njegovo nisu objavili, teta

  5. donald harington recommended this book to me and now that he s gone, i can t even talk about it with him, and that is what i was thinking the whole time i was reading this book if i hadn t had to read it for school, i would have waited until the other two books in the trilogy were published, so i could have had at them all at once, but again, school screws up my plans it s an amazingly quick read i was under the impression that i was supposed to have read it for yesterday s class so i zipped thr [...]

  6. The title of this book is so spot on While an interesting cast of characters populated the story of opium from the empoverished villages of India, to the compromised users in China, with the movers and shakers of colonialism in between, only one element dictated the outcome, and that was poppies These happy little flowers invaded every single aspect of land, sea and all things alive, even innocent animals There was not a soul, psyche or physical body devoid of its impact in the nineteenth centur [...]

  7. A beautifully written historical novel about 1830 s India in the grip of the opium trade The characters are just as diverse as the British Empire itself, each with their own dialects and idiosyncracies, all brought together by the opium trade s many tentacled hands into the Ibis, on a voyage that will irrevocably changed them forever The author has obviously done a massive amount of research into the period, and this novel is so rich with details that it could veritably serve as an encyclopaedia [...]

  8. If I had known this book was the first part of a trilogy the other books as yet unwritten and that the book was not complete unto itself, in other words, this saga is a serial rather than a series, I would probably not have bought it And then I would have missed a book interesting for its historical period the Opium Wars with China about which I knew nothing, for its finely drawn characters and general good all round storytelling This is really a 5 star book, but I am only giving it 4 stars beca [...]

  9. Sea of Poppies is an excellent and superb story of people thrown together in an adventure that will affect them all forever.

  10. This is quite a book and I have given it five stars because it is brilliant, well researched, beautifully written and right up there with some of the very best, similar in some ways, for example, to the Master and Commander series However, I have a few observations and comments to make The fat lady hasn t quite sung yet 1 This is the first book in a trilogy It ends with only two loose ends tied of dozens and dozens There was some retribution in the end of the book but it came at a huge cost I be [...]

  11. First read Nov 09Sea of Poppies is the first book in the Ibis trilogy and I simply can t wait to read the second Unfortunately Ghosh took four years to write this one and according to an interview hasn t even started the next ones yet I do hope he doesn t leave us hanging for too long because this book definitely leaves you wanting to read .Ghosh is a fantastic author and I truly want to read of his books Sea of Poppies, compared to the other books of his I have read The Hungry Tide and The Gla [...]

  12. Deeti, Kalua, Zachary, Serang Ali, Paulette, Neel and Baboo Kissin, I am afraid I have to abruptly dismiss our modest tea party The biscuits are soggy, sandwiches are musty and the Darjeeling brew is insipid So slip me some black tar and I m off to the land of nocturnal rainbows bedecked with copulating gremlins.Sea of Poppies irrespective to the fact of it being the preamble to Ghosh s Ibis trilogy and the onset ambience of the epic Anglo Chinese Opium War,falls short in capturing my nomadic te [...]

  13. This book really disappointed me I have always loved Ghosh s books, so I would have to call this a big let down The book needs a glossary listing Indian terms Perhaps the dialog was made authentic through these terms, but it also became impossible to understand the what was being said Most paragraphs had terms that were not defined neither in or any dictionary I could find on the net Only a few of the terms can be found on the net A few I knew from previous reading, but MANY I could only guess [...]

  14. Sea of Poppies is a story of indentured laborers We see all sorts of Indians huddled together in a ship called Ibis We get to know the story primarily through its main characters Kalua and his wife Deeti On this ship, there are people of different persuasions and background Kalua and Deeti are no exception in this.Both Kalua and Deeti are running away from persecution They have secrets Kalua is a lower caste man, and Deeti a young widow Soon after her husband dies, her in laws want to do Sati on [...]

  15. Very broad in scope, Sea of Poppies is nonetheless an enchanting read, one that had me stopping normal routine so as to get back to it every time I had to put it down Before you read this, however, you should know that it is designed as the first entry of what will eventually be a trilogy based on the ship Ibis and a group of people who, for whatever reason, found themselves aboard her I say this because without understanding this point, you may feel a bit cheated by the ending of the novel.This [...]

  16. The truth is, sir, that men do what their power permits them to do We are no different from the Pharaohs or the Mongols the difference is only that when we kill people we feel compelled to pretend that it is for some higher cause It is this pretence of virtue, I promise you, that will never be forgiven by history Sea of Poppies wrestles with the complex moral questions of the opium trade in an unexpectedly emphathetic way There are the producers, users, and traffickers, all with complex motivati [...]

  17. I thoroughly enjoyed this trilogy for its rich historical detail and its playfulness with language Ghosh writes of the opium trade and the First Opium War He s clearly done a ton of research into all aspects of the trade, and it was a real history lesson not only on the events of the First Opium War but also the society, culture and economics associated with the opium trade This is simultaneously the trilogy s strength and its weakness The opium trade and the First Opium War are the primary focu [...]

  18. For all the hype it has generated, this book was sorely disappointing It is a very fast read, and a good adventure yarnd that is all From a booker prize nominee, I expected something .The characters lack depth The bad guys are evil, the good guys good And some, like Nob Kissin Pander, are ludicrous The story goes at a breakneck pace without stopping for a moment to consider, rather like a well directed bollywood movie only the songs and dance numbers were missing There is a lack of atmosphere Al [...]

  19. I had forgotten how annoyed I was at The Glass Palace only to be remembered during Sea of Poppies.A group of random individuals end up on a former slave ship as it makes it way from India to China during the opening years of the Opium Wars, in the first half of the 19th century It s a good yarn, although intended as the first in a series of three, don t expect anything like a complete story here Amitav Ghosh practically lets you off mid sentence.Whilst a colourful story, the characters are somew [...]

  20. 3.5 stars Sea of Poppies is set in the backdrop of the opium trade and serves as a brilliant example of how simply reading history books on a subject can sometimes only gives you a limited insight, whilst historical fiction can offer a humane dimension to our understanding of a past event I have briefly studied the Opium Wars in the past, but after reading this book I have a whole new understanding of the wider repercussions of Britain s involvement with opium and how the trade affected everyda [...]

  21. Being set in India, during the Opium Wars between England and China, this monumental story tells the lives of several characters, from different castes and ideological perspectives, narrating the tumultuos times they have to survive Amitav Ghosh is a master of storytelling, unravelling a plot in which everycharacter embarks themselves in a journey that will lead them to a ship, the Ibis.The story begins with Deeti, a shy woman who struggles growing poppies to sell to the Opium factory Unhappily [...]

  22. A wonderful book Ghosh s attention to character and affection for language brim to the top of every page It was wonderful to see the opium trade from a multiplicity of perspectives, classes, idioms, and ethnicities He does get a little too specific with his jargon at times, leaving the reader to grope around the context for possible meanings, but this is my only minor qualm I d recommend this book to anyone joshuarigsby

  23. I recently picked up a copy of the third in the Ibis Trilogy, Flood of Fire, and given it was about 6 years since I read Sea of Poppies, and perhaps 4 for River of Smoke, I thought I had better re read these before the finale.I enjoy the writing of Amitav Ghosh a lot I find his descriptive imagery builds up the setting and scenery as the story progresses excellent, and his depth of characters is great While his writing s filled with words foreign to me some common enough to be known, some not in [...]

  24. I almost considered not reviewing this, but I d made a resolution to myself that I would post about every book I read for the sake of crystallising what I took away from it To put this book in perspective I ve started reading with post it flags to mark passages I love or things that I want to come back to when I write about it later I didn t mark a single passage in Sea of Poppies Not one post it flag The only thing I considered marking was a passage that was hilariously difficult to follow.I m [...]

  25. t s good to hear though it s unconfirmed, that Sea of Poppies, is part one of a projected trilogy, because although it s a beautifully styled I d say extravagantly written, completely engaging, well researched work of historical fiction, it closes without a satisfactory end Three stars as a stand alone, despite its many merits, and because of the ending five stars if it is, indeed, installment one Beautifully styled extravagantly written I ve not read other works by Amitav Ghosh, so I m not fami [...]

  26. The Sea of Poppies is the first installment of the Ibis trilogy, penned by one of the foremost story tellers of modern India, Amitav Ghosh This is my second tryst with him, the first being The Hungry Tide which got me so emotionally engaged that I actually cried when of the characters died so I was expecting some good stuff I was not disappointed I really liked this book too.Imagine India, 1838 The farmers are being forced to give up growing life sustaining crops like rice and vegetables, to mak [...]

  27. Flawless and unputdownable The unusual setting in d 1830s, d varied cast castes too drawn from all strata of society and from d US, Englishmen, Indo French, African Asian crewmen, Indian farmers, untouchables, aristocracy, bureaucracy All of the threads getting complete attention and as usual the meticulous Ghosh detailing leaves u spellbound in d first half.However, after d setting is established, u realise that Ghosh is telling a fantastic story with episodes showcasing every human emotion and [...]

  28. Il primo approcio con questo libro stato a dir poco ostico se c una caratteristica evidente di Ghosh che si prende davvero il suo tempo Ce lo vedo dal benzinaio che ti fa aspettare mezz ora mentre con la pompa mette gasolio a volont e tu ti chiedi se prima o poi si partir per questo benedetto viaggio per chiss dove, o se uno di quei casi in cui il tipo ti fa tante promesse e poi rimane alla fermata perch non sa proprio dove portarti Ghosh ad un certo punto accende il motore e meno male, perch un [...]

  29. 3.5I understand why this would be Booker nominated Seriously, I do Sea of Poppies is a great book I just feel it wasn t the book for me Some parts were absolutely memorable, some were not.What was great The book features a multitude of characters an eclectic mix of people from different backgrounds, religions, races, countries and each has their own special place in the story.What was not so great While I absolutely loved some of these characters, I couldn t care less about the others Deeti s tr [...]

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