arersnaperstif.cf: River of Smoke: A Novel (The Ibis Trilogy Book 2) eBook: Amitav Ghosh: Kindle Store. Editorial Reviews. Review. Praise for River of Smoke “No writer in modern India has held a Kindle Store · Kindle eBooks · Literature & Fiction. As hypnotic as an opium dream and pretty unputdownable Daily Mail In September a storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and the Ibis, a ship carrying a.
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Main Author: Ghosh, Amitav, Corporate Author: OverDrive Inc. Published: Toronto: Penguin Canada, Series: Ghosh, Amitav, Ibis trilogy ; bk. Sea of poppies [electronic resource (EPUB eBook)] / Amitav Ghosh. At the heart of this vibrant saga is an immense ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous. River Of Smoke (). Topics amitav ghosh. Collectionopensource_media. LanguageEnglish. Amitava Ghosh. arersnaperstif.cffSmoke
Like the other respectable members of the Chamber, he is — as Innes declares after the departure of the shocked Hongists — an almighty hypocrite. The difference is that he knows it. Things come to a head when a new High Commissioner is appointed.
Things escalate, and lives become part of the bargaining process. The Chamber of Commerce is exposed for what it is: a self-interested, amoral group of traders who have made vast profits but are too greedy to compromise.
Bahram thinks of democracy as a system that keeps the common people busy so that matters of real importance are dealt with by elites like this, and he hopes that India and China will have it one day. Handicapped by not being allowed into Canton, she uses Robin Chinnery in Canton as her emissary, one often side-tracked by events in Canton and his own personal quest for love.
He represents the common man, oblivious to the structures of the society that he lives in until cataclysmic upheavals force him to take notice. It embodies qualities that I recognise from my travels in Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Singapore. The book celebrates the entrepreneurial life, the primacy of political freedom, the importance of learning, and a refusal to be dependant on anybody.
What next for volume three of this trilogy? On the Ibis, after the storm, right? Amitav Ghosh picks up the threads from there, tells us about the different directions in which the characters were scattered and then we continue to follow Neel who brings us to Canton to witness the drama and politics surrounding the opium trade psst! Canton's foreign enclave was the hot-spot of trade between China and other countries.
A huge amount of goods were imported from China, so much so that Chinese had come to believe that ".. For foreigners, opium proved to be a highly profitable counter-trade product which ensured a two way flow of cash.
East India Company , with their strategic position in India monopolized this trade. Opium is the bone of contention at the heart of this story. Chinese side: wanted to keep opium addiction from eating them from the inside and also control the out-flow of silver.
British et al. Also, the high and mighty ones said: " These require us to be subject, in the first instance, to our own laws. Amitav Ghosh carries us back to those times with his pure, un-ornamental storytelling. His writing is undoubtedly descriptive, no lawyer can make a case against that. He tells us about the times when HongKong was only a wilderness and when people thought that Singapore was going to be swallowed by a jungle.
Times when it took several months to travel from one place to another, keeping people away from home for a few years at a stretch most of them also ended up having a second wife and illegitimate children in distant lands. River of Smoke details the life at sea and in the foreign enclave in Canton of the immensely rich men who dominated the trade, principally Britons. The central plot-line follows the journey of a poor Indian Parsi Zoroastrian named Bahram who had risen to lead the trade division of a celebrated Mumbai shipbuilding company owned by his wealthy in-laws.
Any lover of language will find the writing of Amitav Ghosh irresistible. I certainly did. Both the dialogue and the narrative text in Sea of Poppies were enchanting. Ghosh had immersed himself in contemporaneous dictionaries and wordlists of s India and Britain to reproduce the language and the vocabulary of not one but several English dialects.
Jan 28, Flatfoot Vertigo rated it it was amazing. What utter fascination and delight to read Amitav Ghosh. His characters are perfectly drawn, from the inside out, and this book in particular, River of Smoke, paints, with a fine and delicate brush, a colorful and ornate portrait of Canton's Fanqui town and the opium trade involving Britain, India, and isolationist China in the middle s. Historical fiction, this reads more like a fictional novel, full of characters with longing and ambition in a wide range, from self-righteous, racist, imperi What utter fascination and delight to read Amitav Ghosh.
Historical fiction, this reads more like a fictional novel, full of characters with longing and ambition in a wide range, from self-righteous, racist, imperialist chauvanist English opium traders to a young woman who must pose as a boy on a ship and who later becomes the assistant to a famous botanist; to a flaming gay son of a famous painter, flambouyant and lively, yet lonely for a special Friend.
The book moves among several sets of characters whose dealings and fates are sometimes closely and sometimes distantly intertwined and all of which would make a fascinating read on their own. I have loved Ghosh since reading the Glass Palace because he writes with compassion for all his characters without sacrificing clarity as to their motives and choices, positive and negative.
I also loved all the references to Indian cultural practice and activities that an Indian reader would take for granted. Though I didn't take time to look them up, I enjoyed the feeling of being an outsider looking into a cultural frame of reference. Completely absorbed in the narrative, I didn't want to put down the book to find definitions for references such as "tamasha," a spectacle, an entertainment, often with singing and dancing: On approaching a little closer it became evident that the spectacle consisted of a man who had been put on public display, with a huge wooden pillory around his neck.
Jacqua spoke to some passing boatmen and learnt that this man stood accused of being a confederate of the wretched Mr. The boatman said he might even be beheaded if Mr. Innes did not leave the city! My education as to world history is poor, so I am grateful to writers like Ghosh who can make history fascinating and inspire further inquiry. Jun 02, Raja rated it it was amazing. Amitav Ghosh's story-telling must be at least as addicting as opium. In addition to the amazingly well-researched details of the events leading up to the Opium war of , and the interwoven and parallel narratives of the European quest for the botanical riches of China itself a dazzling sub-plot that links both the search for specimens including a fabled flower, and an intriguing account of what Ghosh shows was an important Sino-European chapter in the development of medical art had me co Amitav Ghosh's story-telling must be at least as addicting as opium.
In addition to the amazingly well-researched details of the events leading up to the Opium war of , and the interwoven and parallel narratives of the European quest for the botanical riches of China itself a dazzling sub-plot that links both the search for specimens including a fabled flower, and an intriguing account of what Ghosh shows was an important Sino-European chapter in the development of medical art had me constantly wanting to read more on google about Chinnery and Lamqua ; in addition to this rich historical tapestry Ghosh weaves, there are so many gems of character, plot, narrative device, etc.
And then of course there's Ghosh's beautiful prose. I loved that I wanted to re-read some parts several times just to relish the thrill. For example: But that said, I have some quibbles: Sea of Poppies had a lot of focus on the smaller people in the story.
They;re here too, but not as prominent; some key characters are there in important parts of the story but their voices and roles are quite submerged. Not a bad thing by itself, given that Ghosh is setting this all up for the culminating instalment of the trilogy, but still, after that mind-blowing ending of Sea of Poppies, I really wanted to meet Serang Ali and..
Jul 27, Ryan rated it it was ok. How could Ghosh possible create a work so utterly boring? I absolutely LOVED The Glass Palace, and despite a slow beginning and some troubling language in the first work in this trilogy — Sea of Poppies — I ended up quite taken with it, drawn into the plotlines and characters, and wanted to jump right into this while all of the terminology, names, locations, family lineages, etc, were fresh.
However, it seems that barely anything from S of P carries over. All of the characters that Ghosh spent so long developing, building up, forcing me to care about, and they are either shown just fucking around or in abstentia.
The worst offense is that there are no emotional connections anywhere: There were no heart-rendering portrayals to clutch the reader, nothing at all comparable to the S of P plotline involving Detee and how she was to commit suicide by torching herself on the funeral pyre only to be saved by Kalua. After reading a scene like that, one inevitably wants to see what happens to said couple. The final pages could be characterized in a single sentence: How can you draw pages out of this? Ghosh does it.
And what Ghosh does so well in The Glass Palace — putting a human face on the greater historical occurrences, with individuals living through the circumstances, from all walks of life, converging in the end — is completely missing here.
Second, the style is so preposterous, with everything over-written, over-emphasized, and the flattery of Paulette over-loaded. View all 9 comments. Where is this book?? My heart is still stranded in that longboat paddling away from the Ibis!!
View all 3 comments. Nov 02, Jen rated it it was amazing Shelves: Such a captivating story the narrative and characters are engaging enough, and then there's the HISTORY - i knew really nothing about the Opium Wars, or this part of the world mostly takes place in Canton, China , and definitely nothing about the amazing cultural landscape and linguistic creations that grew there.
So interesting for a fictionalized historical take on political issues like imperialism and f i LOVED this just as much as the 1st book in this unfinished trilogy, Sea of Poppies. So interesting for a fictionalized historical take on political issues like imperialism and free trade, homophobia, racism, class dynamics, and the 'drug war' of a different area. Great read, just now bummed I'll have to wait xxx years for the next one. Hurry up, Mr. PS this one didn't have a glossary like book 1 - but it's available online!
A man is neither good nor evil because he sails his ship upon the wind. It is his conduct towards those around him — his friends, his family, his servants — by which he must be judged. The story starts with an elderly Deeti Colver in Mauritius, visiting her shrine with its pictorial record of the family history. But another visitor is asked to make his not-insignificant contribution: Once again, Ghosh gives the reader a tremendous amount of information: And providing all this, as he does, in the context of an engaging story set against the backdrop of events leading to the First Opium War, he makes it easy to assimilate.
His characters are all well-rounded: The number of aliases that some of the characters have is another intriguing facet of this book. The letters from Robin Chinnery to Paulette, in particular, serve this purpose, as well as being a marvellous source of humour. This book, like the first, is filled with beautiful descriptive prose and insightful observations: Another excellent read that will have fans looking forward to the third book, Flood of Fire.
Mar 29, Grace Tjan rated it liked it Shelves: The short answer is regrettably no. It is by no means badly written, but it simply does not live up to the promise of its predecessor.
He has obviously done his research: These are well integrated, informative, and are never allowed to grow into overtly dominant historical voice-overs, yet something is missing from the story and it is not the history. Feb 21, Betty rated it it was amazing Shelves: Oh, my This book sets such a high standard that it makes me think I should go back and "demote" a lot of my five-star books to four! River of Smoke is the second novel of a planned trilogy by Amitov Ghosh.
I loved the first one, Sea of Poppies, but delayed reading River of Smoke after it came out, just to prolong the anticipation. I was not disappointed. The novels take place against the backdrop of the opium trade, overseen by the British between India and China. The political, economical, a Oh, my The political, economical, and moral issues raised by the opium trade are central to the story, so I learned a lot about this aspect of British colonialism and was struck by the extent to which the arguments defending that trade anticipate contemporary justifications for the exploitation of poorer countries by wealthier one.
But Ghosh is too fine a writer to let his post-colonial affinities get in the way of wonderful story-telling. The characters are complex, finely drawn, and entirely believable -- even though some of the plot twists do make one pleasurably aware that this is fiction.
And the writing is amazing -- I'm not usually patient with extended descriptive passages; but Ghosh's evocation of Canton in the mid-nineteenth century are wonderful. Feb 11, Elaine rated it it was ok Shelves: Major letdown after Sea of Poppies. The playfulness is gone, replaced by a long didactic slog through the lead up to the Opium Wars. Far too much exposition, with long long excerpting from historical documents, so that the entire novel centers around the dry political machinations of the foreign merchants, and everything else -- particularly the rich panoply of characters that made the first book such a delight -- is pushed to the edges.
Even Paulette - who unlike most of the characters fro Wow. Even Paulette - who unlike most of the characters from the first book actually has a nominally central role - gets completely marginalized from the action both geographically and actually. View 1 comment. Aug 14, Zina rated it really liked it. This is the second part of Amitav Ghosh's trilogy on the Opium wars - arguably the worst episode among many of Britain's history.
It deals with the nineteenth century opium trade that Britain used - opium grown in India and shipped to China to create addiction there that would change the trade deficit Britain had with China. Before this Britain's imports of tea from China were so high, but exports of anything TO China so low, that the country's coffers to silver were draining fast.
So Britain This is the second part of Amitav Ghosh's trilogy on the Opium wars - arguably the worst episode among many of Britain's history. So Britain became a narco-state to set things right. And when the Chinese authorities finally put their feet down and tried to ban this, the British government went to war in the name of Free Trade, and won. The main prize was Hong Kong as well as what became known as the New Territories, as well, of course, as the right to trade whatever it wished.
But it is seen through the third person eyes of largely Indian characters, many of them having appeared in the first part of the trilogy Sea of Poppies. In this second volume Ghosh has the problem that faces many writers of historical fiction when the core of the story is the politics of the times: He does this by having one character, a gay mixed-race artist, who as a man has the right to live in the foreigners' quarter of Canton, which was the furthest foreigners could get, write letters to a young woman, friend since childhood, who as a foreign woman is not allowed in Canton.
There is another occasion when two of our main characters, in a flash back, have had a meeting with Napoleon when he was imprisoned on the Atlantic island of St Helena, and discuss the opium trade with him This all works very well, although one can see exactly what Ghosh is doing - a case of the scaffolding rather on view.
On the other hand, I cannot think how else he could have done it, so I shouldn't cavil. I was longing for this book to come out having read the first volume more or less as soon as it became available. And now I can't wait for the third, which he is presumably writing.
His narrative style is uncluttered and direct, but at the same time he happily drops into a variety of Indian languages and phrases, and pidgin as well. And if you don't follow every word, no matter: If you didn't know the history in any detail before I did but that's because of my student days you will learn a lot, and be most entertained along the way.
If you did know the history you can enjoy the writing for itself alone and for the sympathetic eye he casts on characters whose motives are legion and for the most part as humanly selfish as we are accustomed to seeing today.
Highly recommended. This is my second read of the second book in the Ibis Trilogy. I have re-read both The Sea of Poppies and this book in preparation of the third book, which I have recently obtained - I found I could only vaguely remember the first, but a fair bit of this book. I recall that I was fairly disappointed with this book the first time I read it, and at the end of my second reading, I again feel disappointed.
Part of what I enjoyed in The Sea of Poppies was the many characters and their woven stories. W This is my second read of the second book in the Ibis Trilogy. We get a lot less of that in this second book. Here we are primarily concentrating on the events in Canton, where the opium traders are at an impasse with the Chinese Commissioner, who is to put an end to the opium entering China at the request of the Emperor. Other than at the very start of the book and the very end we get nothing in this book from Deeti, and nothing of Kalua.
We get a couple of passing mentions of Zachary Reid, nothing of Jodhu. Paulette Lampbert plays a part, although by a third of the way through this role is reduced to simply receiving letters from the unlikeable Robin Chinnery who plays far too greater role, with this mundane letters which the author uses to convey the goings on of Canton to us - a device I think he relies far too heavily on.
Ah Fatt plays far too short a role at the commencement of the book, where he places Neel into the role of Munshi with his father Seth Bahram Moddie - the only Indian trader who becomes embroiled with the English Opium traders. So instead of these characters who we were engaged with in The Sea of Poppies , we are introduced to the English and American traders, and with other ancillary characters.
For me this book took a long time to get to where it needed, presumably for the finale of the third book in the trilogy. It is there we expect the characters to again come together, but to drag through pages to get there was disappointing. For me this was a 2. This remains consistent with the rating I gave it first time around. View 2 comments. Oct 28, Janne rated it liked it Shelves: I loved Sea of Poppies and was anxiously awaiting this sequel; I had to know what would happen to a number of it's characters.
I was disappointed. The focus in River of Smoke is on the shady characters that were responsible for the opium trading in China.
The story unfolds mainly in Canton, and eve though it is a pleasure to read the description of the town and hear Ghosh's beautiful rendering of the language spoken by the mixture of peoples that populate the city, it is not what I expected.
Gho I loved Sea of Poppies and was anxiously awaiting this sequel; I had to know what would happen to a number of it's characters. Ghosh spends only a few paragraphs talking about the fate of the Ibis convicts, and those are disjointed and superficial.
There is too much dedicated to the behavior ad speeches of the pompous foreigners that dominated the opium trade. Ghosh makes clear how despicable the English were - and the East Indian Co. That's all good, but I wish more of the book had been devoted to the fate of my old friends from the Ibis.
He is one of the opium smugglers,a devoted Parsi, who does not see that what he is doing is a crime and morally objectionable.
He is a businessman who is concerned only with making money - enough to raise his status in the eyes of his in-laws and make himself feel respectable. In contrast with the British traders, he has a kind of innocence that maybe comes from growing up in a culture where "honor" means to be able to support one's family and have wealth.
In the end, his downfall feels like a loss of innocence Sep 29, Tanuj Solanki rated it liked it Shelves: The review first appeared, in three installments, in The New Indian Express At the end of Sea of Poppies, the first novel in the Ibis Trilogy, the cast aboard the schooner is split as five men—convicts and undesirables, broadly speaking—abandon ship during a violent storm somewhere in the Indian ocean, presumably off the Nicobar islands.
It is a hook-ending—we have invested in the stories of four of these five characters—which leads us to pick up the second novel, River of Smoke, in anticipation The review first appeared, in three installments, in The New Indian Express At the end of Sea of Poppies, the first novel in the Ibis Trilogy, the cast aboard the schooner is split as five men—convicts and undesirables, broadly speaking—abandon ship during a violent storm somewhere in the Indian ocean, presumably off the Nicobar islands.
It is a hook-ending—we have invested in the stories of four of these five characters—which leads us to pick up the second novel, River of Smoke, in anticipation. The immediate surprise is that the narrative is picked up several years in the future.
Deeti, the Mauritius-plantation-headed woman aboard the Ibis, is now an old matron surrounded by children and grandchildren, and is retelling her life story with the help of wall drawings inside a cave of some sorts—the cave is a shrine for the family.
To set about this confluence, Ghosh picks up, in the first third of River of Smoke, two separate narrative strands: If Sea of Poppies was at some level about Calcutta and the black waters of the Bay of Bengal, River of Smoke is a novel about the east, towards and into and inside the city of Canton.
There is a problem, though, one that might exist in this trilogy as in all monstrously ambitious works. The essential vastness of scope necessitates that characters either undertake grand odysseys or suffer major inner transformations.
But Ghosh, charged with commitments to linguistic showmanship, to verisimilitude, to providing historical details in such quantity that the period seeps into the reader yes, it happens , is at times too jaded when building credible circumstance that could allow or force characters to undertake their grand odysseys.
Take the case of how Paulette gets inside a ship heading towards Canton: Of course Paulette, interested in botany, is happy to be on the journey. Outsiders are only allowed inside what is called the fanqui town. There, trading depots called factories have been set up; these serve as living quarters, offices, places of congregation the Chinese call them Hongs.
The British one is of course the biggest, but an important one that we are concerned with is the Achcha Hong. Ghosh deliberates over this question in the book after pointing out a strange bond among the achcha people in the Cantonese district.
Kachhi, Muslim, Brahmin Catholic, Parsi—merchants of all backgrounds are presented as feeling connected to each other, and it is indeed a tug at the heart to perceive a near-national feeling among those whom we can now call Indians. In his own words: An important character in the Achcha Hong for us is Bahram Modi, a Parsi opium merchant from Bombay who, having brought in a shipful of opium, and having to keep it in waiting off the coast of Macau because of the opium embargo imposed by the Chinese authorities , is keenly interested in the way the standoff between the Chinese authorities and the merchants pans out.
If there is a war, Bahram stands to lose a lot. Ghosh also invents an interesting literary device to massage the essayist in him: These letters become places where the reader, too, discovers Canton along with its sights and smells.
Bahram Modi—or Barry Moddie, as he is called in Fanqui-town—is desperate to give good news back to investors in Bombay. He learns that the pent-up Chinese demand for opium means the prices that can be extracted are very high.
Moreover, India has seen a bumper poppy harvest leading to a reduction in the prices of the raw material there. Upshot is that the traditional barriers to entry in India have reduced and businessmen with shallower pockets can now become merchants. The simple economics—high current selling price, prospect of increased competition, impending increase in supply to push down the future selling price—pushes Modi to extreme measures, and he agrees to smuggle in part of his cargo as a small pilot project.
The risks are great , for the Chinese are in the process of wiping out all corrupt inter-mediation in opium trade, and have begun to harshly impose the punishments to those engaging in the same: For the opium consignment, Modi has a Chinese downloader and courier services from a white free-trader. Things go wrong, but only the Chinese downloader is punished executed. The emperor is said to be tyrannical, against Freedom, even as he is working for the benefit of his population.
Fairness be dumped, the logic is simply that what is against the interests of the trading companies is also against Freedom itself. Despite Bahram himself failing to ever realize the fallacy in this line of reasoning, Ghosh wants the reader to take him as an exception among the merchants.
That Bahram is Hindusthani, a colonial subject, for whom to rise in this world must have meant doing substantially better than his white competition, often at the cost of forgoing the notions of right and wrong, etc.
One of the failures of the novel, however, is that the intended effect doesn't really come through. The readers cannot see Bahram as much different from the other white merchants, and are forced to see him as culpable as the rest.
Thanks Arvind and Jaya, for reading alongwith. This was the second instalment of the Ibis trilogy by Amitav Ghosh. Enjoyed it as much, and in some parts, even more than the first book. THe first book dealt with India, poppy cultivation of the early 19th century , the tiff between the British and the feudal lords, and the aftermaths thereof. Second book continues with the lives of a few o Thanks Arvind and Jaya, for reading alongwith.