Verdict: AmitavGhosh works his magic so that the story stays with you even after the book is shut. Read it!
Plot Discussion: In the tiny maze of islands in the Sundarbans, is a land where tiger attacks are common, a land where people always feel a little uneasy. It is the heart of India where people are simple and practical. It is here that Piyali Roy, a second generation American-Indian, marine biologist chooses to travel to for studying the lives and habits of the rare river dolphin, the Orcaellabrevirostris. Fate pushes her into the boat of Fokir, a local crab catcher who does not understand a word of anything other than his local dialect. They somehow communicate with each other perfectly. She enlists him to help her track the dolphins also finds a translator in Kanai Dutt, a businessman from Delhi who is visiting his idealistic aunt to explore the diary of her late husband.
As the tide turns, they are away from any civilization and plunged into storms which reflects a time of political turmoil. While the unpleasant memories and tigers slink behind the bushes, the ravaging tide is upon them again and this time, it may not leave a trace.
AmitavGhosh has beautifully penned this novel with references to local tales, bits of Indian marine history and the Morichjhanpi Massacre of 1974. He had literally weaved magic with his intricate descriptions of people and places. The story also consists of a series of flashbacks which are very in line with the present mood of the tides as well. These provide sub plots and cover various issues ranging from marriage, the British in India, trafficking, life in the Sundarbans and so on. This book is a clear product of meticulous research even though it is immersed in fiction. While it is brilliantly written, I found some of the information about the dolphins heavy and fatiguing.
This book has won quite a few accolades (and quite rightly so!) and is very well crafted. It is must read for all lovers of Indian fiction.
This review has been contributed by Hamsini Hariharan. She’s working at BTL because she says that she likes Indian fiction but her true intentions are world domination through flower power.
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