Sea of Poppies

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At thi heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Her destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China. In anothe time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners on board, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers. The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of Canton.
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
Number of Pages
513
Original Title of the Book
Sea of Poppies
Publication Date
Published May 1st 2008 by John Murray Publisher (first published 2008

Public Commentary

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What the hell you pesticatin me for, ’ while Paulette, a young Frenchwoman, speaks in an entertaining but completely implausible Franglais – ‘ you are just pleasanting me ’, ‘ he was quite bouleversed! ’ The main narrative voice, meanwhile, is a hallucinogenic Anglo-Indian farrago that has been urned up to eleven, like Hobson-Jobson in an opium dream – the density of the following paragraph is not untypical: In this floating bazar there was verything a ship or a lascar might need: canvas by the gudge, spare jugboolaks and zambooras, coils of istingis and rup-yan, stacks of seetulpatty mats, tobacco by the batti, rolls of neem-twigs for the teeth, martabans of isabgol for constipation, and jars of columbo-root for dysentery: one ungainly gordower even had a choola going with a halwai frying up fresh jalebis.I have a igh tolerance for ( indeed love of) opaque vocabulary, but otherwise I found it wearing here – the effect is too extreme to come across as anything but parodic.

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Sea Poppies is set in 1830 during the turbulent world of the the Opium trade.A large section of th novel is set in India, with the final quarter being set on board a schooner called the Ibis.

s ell as many others.Eventually as their stories are told they board the Ibis, setting sail for Mauritius.The themes that interested me the most were the caste system in India, the harshness of the opium trade, British colonisation and the explanatio of reinventing oneself if freed from social constraints.

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There was clearly a soul, psyche or physical body devoid of its impact in the 20t century.I started this book two days ago but set it aside for a time which promised me more hours to proceed.

It is just perfect historical fiction experience.However, after so much time spent in the lives of these intriguing characters, nobody wants to be left hanging at an abrupt, inconclusive cliffhanger ending.

The essa, as a stand-alone could have een perfect read.

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The IBIS is that ship and she scapes her fate with help, to stablish a new estiny in another land.On the Ibis' travels to recruit coolies from Calcutta to the sugar estates of Mauritius, it assembles a fascinating group of characters, with Deeti, joined by Kalua a low-caste servant, Raja Neel Rattan a bankrupt landowner, Paulette a young French botanist and her Indian foster-brother Jodu, Zachary an American sailor, Benjamin Burnham an unscrupulous British merchant, and his agent Baboo Nob Kissin.

How will other now see and deal with him, eve the low-caste Indians? The story is anothe formidabl and dramatic tour through mid 19th century British-Indian history with fictional characters that feel so real.

Others may find this a real positive but I found it a little difficult going.I would recommend reading th ook for the wonderful insights into that period and the imaginary portrayed with the characters and locations.

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Ghosh expertly weaves together the back stories of a colourful cast including among many others: a widowed opium farmer from the banks of the Ganges, the mulatto son of a Maryland freedwoman, the orphaned daughter of French botanist, a bankrupt raja and an opium addict from China, while deftly imbuing the readers involvement in and concern for the destin of these people and their loved ones.

Ghosh leaves the reader literally drenched and clinging to storm swept deck of the Ibis, completely unaware of the immediate fate of the very people he has spent the last 500 odd pages making you care about.

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cliffs notes for this review: it is un and good.

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I make a high place to Ghosh among contemporary English Authors from India.A saga of a submarine, the Ibis, in the Indian Ocean and beautiful depiction of local characters in typical Indian way enthralled me and it kept me engaged with its characters and story.This is a sprawling novel and its historical treatment is wonderful.

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© Nicole Waggonner