I have heard a lot about Amitav Ghosh’s writings and this was the first time I read his book. Sea of Poppies is the first book in the Ibis Trilogy and it is based during the Opium Wars in China. This book is a little slow as it introduces the characters to the readers whose lives are going to change after they embark on a journey aboard a ship named Ibis.
I like the book because of its diversity and about lives about which I have never really read about. Before this I never knew about the involvement of Parsis in the Opium trade between Britain and China. This is a good book; a little slow but it is about a time and history which I have never read about.
This book picks up pace and I felt a little rushed to finish it. I just wanted to read faster and know what is going to happen. At one point, I was tempted to just jump to the last chapter and see how it ends. If the first book introduces the characters, this one talks about their adventures. It picks up right where the first book ends and we move to China, Hong Kong, Macau, etc.
Ghosh has brought that period alive and the depth of research can be seen in the way he has written this book. This book is based during the time when China strikes down on the Opium trade and the first clouds of the Opium Wars cover the skies.
There is bloodshed and the irony about the “goodness” and “pureness” about Christianity and British Empire is laid bare open. The book is funny, tragic and adventurous. I cannot wait for the last book in this series to come out.
I loved Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balane. (https://wordsofashex.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/from-my-book-shelf-2/).
It is one of the most heart rendering books I have read. However, Family Matters
falls short…way too short. I actually wanted to get done with it even though there were those brief moments when I was moved by the characters and the story.
The story is simple. An old man suffering from Parkinson’s fractures his leg. The story then follows the usual domestic drama that comes with taking care of an old father who is more of a burden. As is always the case with Mistry’s novels, it is the characters who come alive and add color to the otherwise plain story.
There are moments in the book where one is almost moved to tears and at one point I almost wished that things get better for the families. The writing involves the reader and I for one felt a part of the family and making their ups and downs as mine. But that’s Mistry for you, and that is why the extra half star. 🙂
But A Fine Balance is much better.