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The Hungry Tide

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  15,231 ratings  ·  1,211 reviews
Off the easternmost corner of India, in the Bay of Bengal, lies the immense labyrinth of tiny islands known as the Sundarbans, where settlers live in fear of drowning tides and man-eating tigers. Piya Roy, a young American marine biologist of Indian descent, arrives in this lush, treacherous landscape in search of a rare species of river dolphin and enlists the aid of a lo ...more
Paperback, 333 pages
Published June 7th 2006 by Mariner Books (first published June 7th 2004)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,231 ratings  ·  1,211 reviews

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Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
“The true tragedy of routinely spent life is that its wastefulness does not become apparent till it is too late.”

This quote does not reflect the theme of this book but it caught my eye in this green-covered book in my hand when today I was flipping its pages thinking what to write about it.

It’s tea time and there is a tray ready on a side table with two pieces of cookies. A squirrel on the wall of the garden is eating something in a ravenous way. I have no idea what is that something, it’s scan
I know Amitav Ghosh isn't for everyone, but I just adore his writing. I can't think of another author who can transport me to another place the way he does - whether it's India, somewhere else in Asia, the US or the UK. I haven't yet visited the Sundarbans, but after reading The Hungry Tide I feel like I've squelched my toes in the mud and scratched my skin on the mangrove roots of that region.

Piya Roy and Kanai (rhymes with Hawaii) Dutt meet on a train when both are traveling to the Sundarbans;
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If Shadow Lines enthralled you, Amitav Ghosh's latest masterpiece, the Hungry Tide, will sweep you off your feet, and into the precarious waters of the Sundarbans.In the typical Ghosh style, the narrative moves fluidly between past and present. You will be transported into the mindset of the superstitious yet brave folk, who have adapted themselves to the constant ebb and flow of the tide and are living in continuous fear of the Bengal tigers. The tide begins to turn with the advent of two seeke ...more
Jack Edwards
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fascinating and gripping read given an insight into a subaltern history. In particular, I enjoyed the exploration of language and who is given the ability to write history. However, there were slightly cringeworthy elements tacked onto the end of each chapter, especially the final lines of the novel. This cheapened the novel slightly and seemed a bit out of place.
Stephen Durrant
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 do ...more
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amitav Ghosh, I must say is an amazing story teller and in this book he proved beyond doubt that literary skill of the Bengali is redoubtable!

Absolutely engrossing, this book is one such where you come across a great story which is amazingly written and make you an instant fan of the author.

This book is well researched and the story is set in the 70's, and it revolves around the Sundarbans and have this lovely descriptions of the land, the people and the animals(I would actually call it informat
Home is where Orcaella are - says Pia
Home is where I can brew a perfect cup,of tea - says Nilima
Home is where books as fine as this reside - says Me

This was a very educational journey into the tide country - the Sunderbans.
So far, Sunderban has just been a printed name in my geography text books of yore. After years I encountered it in all its glory, ruthlessness and ethereal beauty, along with the magical folklore, which seems almost real to me, and the majestic man eating tiger.
I will never fo
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of Amitav Ghosh's best books, I would say. The setting of the book is in the 'Sundarbans' in Eastern India– a vast forest in the coastal region of the Bay of Bengal and considered one of the natural wonders of the world. There is not much of a story as such in the novel, but there are excellent characters and visual depictions of the Sundarbans. The landscape plays a prominent role in the book. One could almost breathe 'Sundarbans'. However, unlike forests in Himalayan ranges in the North, ' ...more
Doug Bradshaw
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was written well before Sea of Poppies. It was a fairly interesting story set in an area of Eastern India in a "labyrinth of tiny islands known as the Sundarbans, where settlers live in fear of drowning tides and man-eating tigers."

It was almost more of a documentary giving interesting facts about the history of the settlers, how the government fought them using this ground, how they eked out a living there and were sometimes eaten by Tigers. Dang tigers!

The story of the American Mari
May 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
... this guy is such a terrible writer, I don't know why I bother. Full review once I finish this abominable page-turner...

OK, done: I really can't bear Gosh's style, the dialogue is completely implausible, with nearly every character speaking as though they're declaiming to the wind. He has an unnecessarily high adjective count, and he just generally annoys me. On the upside, this book does some nice stuff with structure, pulling different characters' points of view together quite well. And the
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: z2016, indian, buddy-reads
Oh my Ghosh!
What an adventurous read. I want to get a pair of binoculars and set sail to Sundarbans, which has more to offer than just its famous wild cats.
Informative with a gripping plot, across ethnically different characters, with flashbacks blending fiction and non fiction very smoothly.
This was my first book by Amitav Ghosh and am rooting for more.

P.S. : Reading Gora in parallel added to the joy of enjoying Bengal :)
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was an interesting but not a phenomenal, and in some part, even a disappointing read. The characters could have been fleshed out far far was almost as if the language barrier kept even the reader from understanding Fokir to any measurable depth. The relationships between the various characters were left largely unexplored. I wish that the human interactions/histories had been dealt with the same passion as the geology of the Sunderbans. The storms that shaped the lives of the peop ...more
Sairam Krishnan
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful novel of place, feeling, love, and language, The Hungry Tide demands of the reader an appreciation of the feeling the story burns with. In the tide country, lives are hard, easily extinguished, and seldom valued by the nation that contains them. And yet, the people for whom its ebbs and flows are time itself, home can be nowhere else. Amitav Ghosh's characters are sometimes hard to understand, they sometimes even threaten to become caricatures, but what holds this powerful, moving st ...more
Sumallya Mukhopadhyay
The Hungry Tide, Amitav Ghosh
As always with Amitav Ghosh, his narrative technique refuses to follow a linear pattern, instead it criss-crosses across events of varying decades to foreground the concept of home and homelessness in The Hungry Tide. Probing into the politically charged massacre of Bangladeshi refugees in Marichjhapi, Ghosh investigates homelessness as a naturalized event that gripped South Asia during the years of 1940s and 1970s. He problematizes homeless all the more as he striki
Shreya Vaid
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Just like any other Ghosh's book, The Hungry Tide takes you to an unknown territory, The Sundarbans. For Indians, we associate Sundarbans with Tigers. But Amitav Ghosh through The Hungry Tide will make you read a totally different side of Sundarbans. A deep history of marshy swamplands, crocodiles, rebellion during Bangladesh war. The last book that I read by Amitav Ghosh was the Glass Palace, which took me to Burma, a place which was alien to me, but not anymore. And that is the beauty of Ghosh ...more
Tanuj Solanki
Supremely disappointing, considering the start it had.

In the first few chapters Ghosh takes ample time with his two main characters. Their histories and inner lives intermingle well. The plot too advances with a decent pace. But then two things overpower his novel

(1) The desire to be inventive
(2) Sobering down to elongated, unreal conversations when not being inventive.

Ghosh's inventive side gives us a plethora of side stories, some provided as the journal of a dead man, others as mere myths
Apr 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could give this book 3.5 stars, it would have been ideal.

Ghosh paints a mesmerising picture of the Sunderbans, a part of the country that you don't hear or read about all that often. He doesn't sugar-coat things much, hence you see it in its true light; the description of natural beauty, along with the perils and dangers. My only issue was that he sometimes overdoes the whole ''tide country'' bit, and it sometimes felt a bit forced.

The book is definitely well-written, with interesting c
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amitav Ghosh's The Hungry Tide is an ode to the Tide Country. The prose does not unfold a story - but exists much like the background music for a scene out of a painting.

Based on a few real incidents, actual research and experiences - the book has 3 different themes. One that gives you the feel of watching a discovery channel documentary, one of reading a poet's muse and the other the tides of human emotions transcending language, faith and nature. And surprisingly in all 3 themes Ghosh prevails
I continue on my literary exploration of the Sundarbans, between India and Bangladesh. one of the most mysterious places on earth, where tigers struggle against extinction, and a fragile, beautiful environment is disappearing day by day.
"The Hungry Tide" by Amitav Ghosh was neither my favorite book by Mr. Ghosh, not my favorite about the great tidal wonderland I love but will never visit but in books and films.
I really didn't connect with any of the characters. They all had a lack of warmth t
Sreelekha Menon
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set amidst the lush foliage of mangrove forests, The Hungry Tide tells us about the history and lives of people who inhabit the numerous islands of Sunderbans in the Bay of Bengal, the river dolphins, the man eater tigers of the tide country, the sea and the legends that float in these waters and forests. It reminds us of the fragility of human life and the helplessness that comes with it.

Story revolves around American born Bengali descent, Piyali Roy a.ka. Piya, a cetologist who comes to India
Mar 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Amitav Ghosh, the author of The Circle of Reason and The Shadow Lines, weaves a complex fabric with some of the fundamentals of the deepest corners of our mind: the animistic instinct, the urge to discover, and the magnetism of finding one's roots. All this woven against a primitive landscape of water and silt, time set against tidal surges and mangrove forest, a flat land low against a stormy sky in the Bengal delta, a place that Ghosh brings alive with the apparent deftness of long familiarity ...more
Indrani Sen
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: india
A superb book on Sundarban. Lovely descriptions of the land and the people. A mindblowing climax. thoroughly enjoyed this.
Pooja  Jha
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indian-lit, favorites
" is lived in transformation"


This was an absolutely incredible read. It seems half of me would now always dwell in the forests of Sundarbans along with the mangroves, constantly changing tidal ebbs and with the dolphins...The delicacy and the proficiency with which Amitabh Ghosh has portrayed not only the beauty and virtuousness of the nature but also its enormity is marvelous and has surely been able to leave an everlasting impact on me.....

The Sundarbans whi
Alexandria  Ang
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
read this for a class and am so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
Radhika (rads)
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved it!

I dreaded picking it up, but for $1 at the local library's sale shelves, it wad hard to resist. I did. Then I sat on it a good while. Then I started and then kicked myself for not starting earlier.
I have been reading so many Indian authors that it got a bit repetitive. Then Bengali authors have the propensity to romance even dry bran, and I mean that in a nice way, so I was pleasantly shocked that though he was as descriptive as they are, he did not ramble. The descriptions were jus
Nov 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
I'm sorry to say I could not finish this. I got about a third of the way through. I greatly enjoyed The Calcutta Chromosome and Sea of Poppies and have liked other books by this author, more or less, but this was unbearable. The setting is squalid and hellish, an island half-drowned in the mud of the Ganges delta. The characters did not interest me, and a developing romance between an Indian-American marine biologist and a Bengali fisherman seemed preposterously unlikely, although in fairness I ...more
I have been listening to the audio of The Hungry Tide this week while working. I am so sorry it's over. The narrator was very good, which naturally helps, but the language was beautiful, the setting was fascinating and the characters were so real to me that I am still thinking about them. The story is about adaptation, and about the interaction between humans, plants and animals. The author presents an excellent question: Do we have the right to promote conservation efforts in a place where thos ...more
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I think I was not able to do justice to this book as I was distracted during its reading especially in the last parts. But there were things that clung to me - the beauty and wildness of the Sunderbans( One day I will definitely go there) the Dolphins and the Tigers. The dolphins and the tigers were also characters and so much was new to me regarding them. I loved the way the story unfolded with the schoolmaster's memoir along with Piya's adventure . And Fokir!!!! What a character. Will read mor ...more
Martina Bučková
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another of Amitav Ghosh's novel, which is great and I am definitely slowly falling in love with his books. Ghosh is mixing his stories with the historical facts so perfectly that it's even magical. I'm starting to think that Indian authors are really one of the best narrators of the stories.
The Hungry Tide is telling us a story of Piya Roy, who comes to a tide country in West Bengal to study endangered river dolphins, their habitat and behavior. On the train to Canning she meets translator Kanai
Catherine Adde
May 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh

This story has such an astonishing, heart-tugging ending, that I wish I had the time to read it again! What intrigued me about it is the setting: the Sundarbans, a group of thousands of islands in the bay of Bengal, India, bordering Bangladesh. Mr. Ghosh, a prize winning author and Oxford scholar, tells the tale while educating us in the ways of the tidal country: its man-eating tigers, exotic Mangrove trees, the extreme weather as in tsunamis and tidal waves (henc
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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, Alexan

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