Stephen Durrant's Reviews > The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh
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Jan 03, 2009

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I have mixed feelings about "The Hungry Tide." Amitav Ghosh tells a large story firmly set in a particular place--the Mangrove-covered islands in the estuary of the Ganges River. The story has everything: love, class-difference, political conflict, natural and man-made catastrophes, and, of course, dolphins, tigers, and crocodiles (dangerous encounters with the latter two, friendly encounters with the first). And that's the problem. The story is contrived and contains dialogue that frequently doesn't ring true. Moreover, Ghosh is maybe too eager to teach us what he knows of the natural history of his native land (more about the Irrawaddy Dolphin, for example, than I ever wanted to know). Overarching all of this is a kind authorial sensitivity, working manfully towards a suitably acceptable happy ending. Still, one reads forward, swept along by Ghosh's "big story." He is trying, I think, to write a best-seller with enough literary art to stop just short of being embarrassing. He succeeds for the most part, but it all seems a little too calculated and nice to this cynical reader. Yes, I liked it, sort of, but is that enough?
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09/12 marked as: read

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message 3: by Erin (new)

Erin Is this the book that Gina recommended? And why isn't she here?

She should really be flaunting her literary prowess around here.


Stephen Durrant Yes, it is. We could invite her, but then I'd have to upgrade my review of the book she gave me (and purge this comment too).


message 1: by Krishna (new)

Krishna Why you say you are a cynical reader?


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