“River of Smoke,” the second volume of his ambitious Ibis trilogy, is the It is clear that Ghosh is fascinated by the history of Canton and, within. River of Smoke has ratings and reviews. Arah-Lynda said: The absence of food doesn’t make a man forsake hunger – it only makes him hungrier . by Amitav Ghosh (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $28) River of Smoke The second book in Ghosh’s Ibis trilogy is set in the eighteen-thirties, when.

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A tremendous amount of research went into this Ibis trilogy.

Canton’s foreign enclave was the hot-spot of trade between China and other countries. What is perhaps a pre-condition is an appetite for detail, a taste for complexities, and a love for words and their strange journeys. But there was also the gentle bonds of friendship, a non-genetic kinship, an integrity and honor that glued it all together. I think this is my major gripe with the book; by using or overusing this device, there is far too much telling and not enough showing.

Attention spans have dwindled, the pundits say, brevity is all, and the grand narrative is to be consigned to the trash heap. Paulette’s quest to find a mysterious camellia plant aptly captures a theme of the novel: In some ways, this is a fabulous piece to read with books like Heart of Darkness what did the communities on the shore think?

As transporting and mesmerizing as an opiate induced dream, River of Smoke will soon be heralded as a masterpiece of twenty-first century literature. In the previous book, we all hanged onto the Ibis ‘s deck for dear life.

River of Smoke was so dull, compared to Sea of Poppies, that I expect I will forego reading book three. There, despite efforts of the emperor to stop them, ships from Europe and India exchange smokw c In Septembera storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and the Ibisa ship carrying a consignment of convicts wmitav indentured laborers from Calcutta to Mauritius, is caught up in the whirlwind.

Videos About This Book. The risks are greatfor 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: Of course Paulette, interested in botany, is happy to be on the journey.


Left with a lot of unanswered questions which I am hoping will be answered in the last part of the trilogy. At that time foreigners were not permitted to enter Canton proper even though it relied heavily on foreign trade.

River of Smoke – Wikipedia

The British profited greatly by trading opium in exchange for Tea and other Chinese goods. Settle for that central theme, you feel, and Ghosh would have an instant classic on his hands. Having said that, I am looking forward to the next installment.

This reads like an early draft where he just needed to get all the material down and then he lost interest and didn’t do the revising and tightening that would make it compelling. I loved the first one, Sea of Poppies, but delayed reading River of Smoke after it came out, just to prolong the anticipation. River of Smoke follows its storm-tossed characters to the crowded harbors of China.

In Paste Magazinewriter Zack Shlachter calls the Ibis trilogy “one of the most inspired explorations of global encounters by a 21st-century writer,” noting that in River of Smoke Ghosh focuses on the simultaneous dangers and potential—for exploitation as for more benevolent kinds of exchange—inherent in trade. He is happy to spend paragraphs on the cuisine served at each meal, while freely adding mix-up, mash-up words on every page.

River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh – review | Books | The Guardian

And the artistic accomplishments of artist trying to capture reality and artist who were obsessed with capturing life as they saw it, bu there were also the human sagas of ambition, love, honor, and survival that fill the pages of this second volume of an epic story of the clash between east and west. My favorite Amitav Ghosh moment was not when I saw an excellent and insightful “in conversation” with him at a book fair some years back, but when Vikram Seth, author of Suitable Boy, told me I had hair just like Amitav Ghosh.

And if you don’t follow every word, no matter: But the amktav stories of the original people are missing, which is a major disappointment.

Him being an artist, his letters provide a perspective different from that of people involved in the opium trade. This all works very well, although one can see exactly what Ghosh is doing – a case of the scaffolding rather on view. Order by newest oldest recommendations. So will begin the opium wars involving India, China and Britain. As in SeaGhosh regales us with a mix of languages, scenes, smells and tastes. China he finds that the Emperor of China has decide to close Chinese ports to Opium trade.


The British had the most to lose, the Chinese the most to gain and in the process thousands of tons of opium changed hands or got lost.

All struggle to cope with their losses — and for some, unimaginable freedoms — in the alleys and crowded waterways of 19th century Canton. I This is the second installment in the Ibis Trilogy and I have no doubt that upon completion it will be nothing short of a masterpiece. He has obviously done his research: Ghosh is a very clever wordsmith, and his knowledge of slang, colloquialism, and epithet of the period extends to several languages; he also has an extensive knowledge of maritime technology, geopolitics, and other elements of the historical background; however, the story basically skims along on the surface.

River of Smoke

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. 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.

Like so many readers of Sea of PoppiesI have been waiting for this 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.

A mitav Ghosh’s two latest novels carry us deep inside the opium trade in the s. Both the dialogue and the narrative text in Sea of Poppies were enchanting.

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 But Ghosh’s novels somehow succeed in taking us back inside the chaos of when “then” was “now”.

However, it seems that barely anything from S of P carries over.