The Hungry Tide Quotes

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The Hungry Tide The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh
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The Hungry Tide Quotes Showing 1-30 of 37
“How do you lose a word? Does it vanish into your memory, like an old toy in a cupboard, and lie hidden in the cobwebs and dust, waiting to be cleaned out or rediscovered?”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“(He) was in love with the idea of revolution. Men like that, even when they turn their backs on their party and their comrades, can never let go of the idea: it's the secret god that rules their hearts. It is what makes them come alive; they revel in the danger, the exquisite pain. It is to them what childbirth is to a woman, or war to a mercenary.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“There was a time when the Bengali language was an angry flood trying to break down her door. She would crawl into a closet and lock herself in, stuffing her ears to shut out those sounds. But a door was no defense against her parents' voices: it was in that language that they fought, and the sounds of their quarrels would always find ways of trickling in under the door and thorugh the cracks, the level rising until she thought she would drown in the flood...The accumulated resentsmnets of their life were always phrased in the language, so that for her its sound had come to represent the music of unhappiness.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“beauty is nothing but the start of terror we can hardly bear, and we adore it because of the serene scorn it could kill us with . . .”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“This is my gift to you, this story that is also a song, these words that are a part of Fokir. Such flaws as there are in my rendition of it I do not regret, for perhaps they will prevent me from fading from sight, as a good translator should. For once, I shall be glad if my imperfections render me visible.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“Kanai, the dreamers have everyone to speak for them,' she said, 'But those who try to be strong, who try to build things - no one ever sees any poetry in that, do they?”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“It would be enough; as an alibi for a life, it would do; she would not need to apologize for how she had spent her time on this earth.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“But here, in the tide country, transformation is the rule of life: rivers stray from week to week, and islands are made and unmade in days. In other places forests take centuries, even millennia, to regenerate; but mangroves can recolonize a denuded island in ten to fifteen years. Could it be the very rhythms of the earth were quickened here so that they unfolded at an accelerated pace?”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“And now, indeed, everything began to look new, unexpected, full of surprises. I had a book in my hands to while away the time, and it occurred to me that in a way a landscape is not unlike a book--a compilation of pages that overlap without any two ever being the same. People open the book according to their taste and training, their memories and desires: for a geologist the compilation opens at one page, for a boatman at another, and still another for a ship's pilot, a painter and so on. On occasion these pages are ruled with lines that are invisible to some people, while being for others as real, as charged and as volatile as high-voltage cables.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“The true tragedy of a routinely spent life is that its wastefulness does not become apparent till it is too late.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“already know by instinct
we're not comfortably at home
in our translated world.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“the quiet was more like a fog or a mist, creeping in slowly, from a distance, wrapping itself around certain sounds while revealing others: the sawing of a cicada, a snatch of music from a distant radio, the cackle of an owl.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“I had a book in my hands to while away the time and it occurred to me that in a way a landscape is not unlike a book - a compilation of pages that overlap without two ever being the same. People open the book according to their taste and training, their memories and desires. On occasion these pages are ruled with lines that are invisible to some people, while being for others, as real, as charged and as volatile as high-voltage cables.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“beauty is nothing but the start of terror we can hardly bear, and we adore it because of the serene scorn it could kill us with”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“The hours are slow in passing as they always are when you are waiting in fear for you know not what: I am reminded of the moments before the coming of a cyclone, when you have barricaded yourself into your dwelling and have nothing else to do but wait. The moments will not pass, the air hangs still and heavy; it is as though time itself has been slowed by the friction of fear.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“How do you lose a word? Does it vanish into your memory, like an old toy in a chest, and lie hidden in the cobwebs and dust, waiting to be cleaned out or rediscovered?”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“ON THE BANKS of every great river you’ll find a monument to excess.”
Kanai recalled the list of examples Nirmal had provided to prove this: the opera house of Manaus, the temple of Karnak, the ten thousand pagodas of Pagan. In the years since, he had visited many of those places, and it made him laugh to think his uncle had insisted that Canning too had a place on that list: “The mighty Matla’s monument is Port Canning.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“With every step her carriage seemed to become a little straighter and her movements more assured: it was as though the mere proximity of the building had caused a brisk professional to emerge from the chrysalis of a careworn wife and mother.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“In a way it was a relief to be spared the responsibilities that came with a knowledge of the details of another life.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“her dream of becoming a nurse was no ordinary yearning : it was the product of a desire as richly and completely imagined as a novel or a poem. It recalled for him what it meant to be driven to better yourself, to lay claim to a wider world.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“Language was both his livelihood and his addiction and he was often preyed upon by a near irresistible compulsion to eavesdrop on conversations in public places.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“dolphins in the water. He recalled that the dolphins usually gathered there when”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“we, who have always thought of joy as rising . . . feel the emotion that almost amazes us when a happy thing falls.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“Nilima fell silent as she thought about this. “Tell me, Kanai,” she said, “did Nirmal say why he didn’t leave the notebook to me?”
“Not in so many words,” Kanai said. “But I suppose he felt you wouldn’t be very sympathetic.”
“Sympathetic?” Rising angrily to her feet, Nilima began to pace the room. “Kanai, it’s not that I wasn’t sympathetic. It’s just that my sympathies had a narrower focus. I am not capable of dealing with the whole world’s problems. For me the challenge of making a few little things a little better in one small place is enough. That place for me is Lusibari. I’ve given it everything I can, and yes, after all these years it has amounted to something. It’s helped people; it’s made a few people’s lives a little better. But that was never enough for Nirmal. For him it had to be all or nothing, and of course that’s what he ended up with — nothing.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“Because words are just air, Kanai-babu,' Moyna said. When the wind blows on the water, you see ripples and waves, but the real river lies beneath, unseen and unheard. You can't blow on the water's surface from below, Kanai-babu. Only someone who’s outside can do that, someone like you.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“In the past perhaps I would have declined, but I now recalled the Poet’s dictum—“To stay is to be nowhere”—and I was happy to accept.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“Even in that moment of distraction, Kanai noticed—so tenacious were the habits of his profession—that Fokir was using a different form of address with him now. From the respectful apni that he had been using before, he had switched to the same familiar tui Kanai had used in addressing him: it was as though in stepping onto the island, the authority of their positions had been reversed.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“Nilima made her hands into fists and put them on her waist. “Nirmal, you have no idea of what it takes to do anything practical,” she said. “You live in a dream world—a haze of poetry and fuzzy ideas about revolution. To build something is not the same as dreaming of it. Building is always a matter of well-chosen compromises.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“Her Bengali, after years of living in the tide country, had almost converged with the local dialect, having been stripped of the inflections of her urban upbringing. But her English, possibly because she spoke it so rarely, had survived like a fern suspended in amber, untouched by time and unspoiled by the rigors of regular usage, a perfect specimen of a tongue learned in the schools of the Raj. It was like listening to a lost language, the dialect of a vanished colonial upper middle class, spoken with the crisp enunciation once taught in elocution classes and debating societies.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
“Having moved around a lot, my father has all these theories about immigrants and refugees. He believes that Indians—Bengalis in particular—don’t travel well because their eyes are always turned backward, toward home. When we moved to America, he decided he wasn’t going to make that mistake: he was going to try to fit in.” “So he always spoke English to you?” “Yes,” said Piya, “and it was a real sacrifice for him because he doesn’t speak English very well, even to this day.”
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide

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