River of Smoke (Ibis Trilogy #2)
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Where were we? On the Ibis, after the storm, right? Amitav Ghosh picks up the threads from there, tells us about the different directions in which the characters were scattered and then we continue to follow Neel who brings us to Canton to witness the drama and politics surrounding the opium trade (psst! smuggling), and an account of the events which wi...more
In September 1838 a storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and the Ibis, a ship carrying a consignment of convicts and indentured laborers 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 Cor...more
This installment takes us away from India, where in the first book we witnessed the opium industry throwing some our characters'...more
Historical fiction, this reads more like a fictional novel, full of characters with longing and ambition in a wide range, from self-righteous, racist, imperi...more
River of Smoke paints a picture of a time when the major powers of the world are making big bucks shipping opium into China, the risks are not so bad and the pay-off is high. River of Smoke is rich in visual detail, as you ho...more
Balzac (and lots of people after him) thought that “Behind every great fortune there is a crime.” Nowhere is that aphorism more baldly illustrated than in the 19th-Century opium trade that enriched England, Scotland, and the United States and created a score of hereditary fortunes that have left their mark on the world for nearly two centuries since. After all, when Europeans introduced China to the practice of mixing opium wi...more
Re-reading this book again now to better appreciate all the scenes and the various characters - since I read bit by bit, I tend to forget who is who as there are a lot characters.
The most interesting part of this book was when the characters are based in Canton, just before the first Opium War. The Parsi Seth, the ex-Raja turned escaped "convict" and my favorite character, Robin Chinnery (a fictional son of a famous British based in China painter, George Chinnery) wi...more
After Song of Poppies, Amitav Ghosh's second novel The River of Smoke was published, and was one of the great novels of the twenty first century Indian English literature. He is now writing the third part of his Ibis trilogy.AMITAV GHOSH took nearly three and a half years to write the second book of his Ibis trilogy. He spent several weeks in Guangzhou and learnt some Cantonese to depict the background of the novel which is set in Fanquit town. Most of the action occurs in Guangzhou. Like the Se...more
From The Guardian...more
I vaguely knew that the West had introduced opium to China, and that many Chinese had become addicted and died from their addiction, but I had no idea of how valuable the opium tra...more
Ghosh's novel - the second in a trilogy that began with the Booker-shortlisted 'Sea Of Poppies' in 2008 - is an epic by any standards: extraordinarily researched; superb in its evocation of a distant time and place.
But strictly in the context of the literary firmament into whi...more
A pretty heroic feat of research that doesn't bog down until 2/3 of the way through. The novel doesn't have a plot so much as a pervasive feeling of inevitability -- all characters will encounter one another, and the impending opium wars will affect them all.
The pacing was brisker than 'Sea of Poppies' at the outset, though the Ghoshian glut of detail is still there. At page 360, all the edicts and letters passing between the Committees and Government officials became tiresome and monotonous. Th...more
• Bahram Modi - Parsi Merchant from Bombay and father of Ah Fat
• Chi Mei - A Cantonese Boat woman who is the l...more
That said, I tried to get through the first pages with no luck and finally skimmed to page 25 where, in order to stand on its own, the book should have begun with backstory filled in. (Later there would be much discussion on whether the Anahita was struck by the same storm....etc.)
Bahram is well drawn, likable and forgivable for his foibles. He is well repr...more
For most of my adult life, de-regulation and free trade has dom...more
|should one read sea of poppies first to understand river of smokes ? or is it required that it be read in series only ?||9||57||Dec 16, 2012 09:47pm|
Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956. He studied in Dehra Dun, New Delhi, Alexan...more