Bundook. Gun. A common word, but one which turns Deen Datta's world upside down.
A dealer of rare books, Deen is used to a quiet life spent indoors, but as his once-solid beliefs begin to shift, he is forced to set out on an extraordinary journey; one that takes him from India to Los Angeles and Venice via a tangled route through th...more
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An attempt at mixing up many issues , creating a hodgepodge of events.
The issues touched upon in this book are:
-culture and belief
- ability to converse with /understand non human animals
- environmental issues and climate change
- slavery and trafficking
- illegal immigrants and their problems faced
I may be missing an issue or two
The story happens in the Sunderbans, Italy ( especially Venice ) and a small time frame in New York.
Main characters include
I have put the most part of this review in a spoiler, as it does discuss the main themes of the book.
(view spoiler)[For me, it tried to address too many of the world critical environmental and social issues - rising sea levels, rising ocean temperatures, habitat cha ...more
The treasure-hunt plot proved to be a great vehicle to combine the ancient legend and contemporary climate change problems that, merged together, constitute the backbone of the book, and I adored it. However, I have a number of issues with the second part of the book. I believe this book manifests a tendency towards a sort of mysticism which the author tries to connect to topical issues of social injustice (human trafficking as related to illegal immigration, climate change) in a way that I c ...more
The first half was almost a 4 star despite all the strange intersects and disconnecting portions of continuity. Because the writing was mood placing and thorough. Just a wonderful job for the Sundurbans endlessly changing waterways and marshes, but also for the magic or "other" non-physical, almost spiritual or at least "of spirit" level to the posits.
But then it wasn't that at all. It was magic realism run amok with social warrior organizing theory di ...more
This was my first Amitav Ghosh novel and I doubt it will be my last. While the story touched on many prevalent issues (ie climate change & migration) , what I most appreciated was the way they were tied together. We see the impact humanity has ...more
Through all this is Dean, a middle aged Bengali man who ha ...more
Bengal and Bangladesh, Los Angeles and Venice, culminating on a ship in the Mediterranean. Ghosh has a love of the planet and its people, but through this lovely book he quietly expre ...more
Amitav Ghosh is a master storyteller so I was somewhat surprised here to find a narrative arc that seemed to lack his immersive touch. Gun Island gives us a mixed bag of a story that ticks off many of today’s hot literary topics: magic realism, immigration, climate change, the need for an overriding hero.
The first half of Gun Island is a laboured telling of how his narrator, Bengali born but brought up in America, finds himself in India caught up in a harrowing trip to a remote ...more
In literature there are things like genre, style, themes, motives, etc, ...well Gun Island is one eclectic novel. It went in all directions campus novel, historical fiction, thriller, magical realism, environmentalism, etymology, biology, migration, fairytal/folklore, with a dash of snakes on a plane.
Rare books dealer, new York based, Bengali Deen is drawn into the story of Bonduki Sadagar, or the Gun Merchant on a visit back to India and the Sun ...more
Much of this thriller is centred around places I’ve been to in India with wonderful details about life there, the effect of climate change, immigration and technology. It moves to other places, New York, Oregon, Venice and Bangladesh while keeping the theme resonant.
The story mixes Bengali myths and reality with a slow burn plot that still kept me gripped until the climax. The story follows De ...more
Deen (aka Dinath) is a dealer in rare books, who finds himself drawn into the tale of a historical "Gun Merchant" who operated between the Sundarbans of Bengal and the markets of Venice and Sicily, as well as into the lives of current and ex-pat Bengalis and Italians.
However, I found that the writing didn't subscribe enough to magical realism to be e ...more
I am sorry to say that I did not enjoy this novel. It saddens me because, politically, I am very much on the same page as the author.
The problems I had with the text are:
1. There are too many coincidences that make the plot nearly wholly unbelievable. Ghosh introduces themes of the supernatural, including precognition, that I felt were handled in a clunky manner. I don’t care for books in which it seems the author ha ...more
Gun Island is set in a very Dan Brown-ish space, with the central character trying to solve an ancient mystery and the ...more
Spanning from India to Venice, this novel weaves on old local Indian myth into a global history of displacement, migration, otherness and survival in places that are not home. Really cleverly done, you want to pay attention from the very beginning as the novel draws you in even without you knowing where it is going. Hold on to about the midpoint, where the main themes will be much clearer!
It is not only expats a ...more
I would describe this novel as mythical realism (if that is a thing) because you do need to suspend a few disbeliefs and accept the many coincidences (which Ghosh frequently reminds you to do! ...more
The big picture issue that he tackles in Gun Island is the state of the planet, and climate change in particular. The point that he makes that's new for me, is that we might have reached a tipp ...more
Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956. He studied in Dehra Dun, New Delhi, Alexan ...more