BookBrowse Reviews Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

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Sea of Poppies

by Amitav Ghosh

Sea of Poppies
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2008, 528 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2009, 528 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva

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A terrifically engrossing adventure story, a historical narrative, a comment on politics and society, all spun very carefully into a luxuriously dramatic read

Packing a wildly varied cast of characters and all of their stories on board a ship and expecting it to stay afloat through 500 pages seems a dangerous proposition for a novel. With Sea of Poppies, Amitav Ghosh proves it can also be a brilliant one. In a thoroughly enjoyable blend of historical fiction, comedy of manners, linguistic play, and socio-political underpinnings, the Ibis becomes its own sea-borne universe populated by travelers cut off from the past, trapped and set free all at once by total isolation.

A fallen Raja; the son of a freed American slave and her white owner; a French orphan girl disguised as a man and seeking her heritage; the widow of an opium addict and indentured poppy grower; a mysterious prisoner; and dozens of others converge on the ship's decks as sailors, servants, laborers, spiritual seekers, and stowaways. Soon, men and women who...

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