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The Shadow Lines Paperback – 6 Jan 2011

20 customer reviews

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The Shadow Lines + River of Smoke (Ibis Trilogy 2) + Sea of Poppies
Price For All Three: £22.97

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (6 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848544170
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848544178
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. He studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford, has taught at a number of institutions and written for many magazines. The first novel in the Ibis trilogy, Sea of Poppies, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008.

Product Description

Review

Stunning . . . amusing, sad, wise (New York Times Book Review)

Ghosh has found his own distinctive voice - polished and profound . . . A compelling novel, wistful in its tone, assured in its achieved vision (Times Literary Supplement)

PRAISE FOR SEA OF POPPIES (-)

'Sea of Poppies Boasts a varied collection of characters to love and hate, and provides wonderfully detailed descriptions of opium production ... utterly involving and piles on tension until the very last page' (Peter Parker, Sunday Times)

'A glorious babel of a novel ... marvellously inventive ... utterly involving ... The next volume cannot come too soon' (Sunday Times)

'An utterly involving book' (Sunday Times)

'This is a panoramic adventure story, with a Dickensian energy and scope' (Sunday Telegraph)

'Ghosh's narrative is enriched with a wealth of historical detail ... as well as intricate characterisation that makes interaction among the diverse group truly absorbing' (The Times)

'There can be fewer more exciting settings for a novel than a sea-tossed sailing ship ... Ghosh piles detail upon detail in a rumbustical adventure' (The Times)

'Ripping post-colonial yarn ... Ghosh spins a fine story with a quite irresistible flow, breathing exuberant life ... an absorbing vision' (Guardian)

'A remarkably rich saga' (Observer)

'Each scene is boldly drawn, but it is the sheer energy and verve of Amitav Ghosh's storytelling that binds this ambitious medley' (Daily Mail)

This is a corker (Spectator)

Ghosh turns the ship into something robustly, bawdily and indelibly real . . . a plot of Dickensian intricacy (New York Times)

'A master of fiction' (Economist)

'A richly drawn cast of characters ... gilded with expertly-mined historical detail' (Sunday Business Post)

'The fantastic Anglo-Asian language they speak is infectious, and the sombre yet uncertain conclusion leaves one eager for the second novel in the trilogy' (Daily Telegraph)

'A captivating cast ... Ghosh's saga is enriched with a blizzard of Laskari- and Hindi-derived words that add irrepressible energy to the narrative' (Metro)

'Beautifully written, this totally absorbing novel will leave you eagerly awaiting a second instalment' (She Magazine)

'...this first volume in a promise trilogy is a gem.' (Guardian)

Book Description

A haunting novel from the best-selling author of the Ibis trilogy.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By E N Cuentro on 26 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
For any novel, but especially for a first novel, this is an extraordinary achievement. Dealing in history, human frailty, the lenses of memory and self deception, the sources of identity and belonging: this is a brief epic which is never grandiose, and always close to human experience.

The inner world of the narrator is so pitch perfect it hurts. You can feel him growing, and the people around him too. Each and every personality in it is startlingly realised. The narrative forces its way on, covering a great emotional range. The style is impeccable - restrained, precise and beautiful or harsh and the situation demands.

I suppose that no one reading this review will believe quite how good The Shadow Lines is - and apparently his other books don't quite reach the same standard. This, however, is a great, neglected work of modern literature.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr Do Little on 25 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback
Being shortlisted for the Booker prize for "Sea of Poppies" was long-overdue recognition for this great writer. In this, his second novel, Ghosh traces the interlinked lives of an extended family in Calcutta and an English family who lived in India before Partition. Moving in time between pre-World War II Dhaka, blitz-affected London, 1950s and 1960s Calcutta, and 1970s London, it looks at the lives of its characters and the circumstances they find themselves in through the eyes of its narrator as he grows from a child to an adult. I puzzled over the title: was it a reference to Joseph Conrad's "The Shadow Line", his novella about the line between youth and adulthood? If it is, then this novel is about several lines that separate: those between branches of a family, between nations, between religious communities, but also about remembering and forgetting. The pivotal moment of the book recalls his great memoir, "In an Antique Land", in that it reveals that what we take for granted -- here divisions between Hindus and Muslims -- are not all they have come to be believed to be. This is not just entertainment; like the best writing, it makes you reconsider what you think you already know. If you haven't read any of his books, then I urge you to do so. And this is as good a place as any to begin.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cloggie Downunder TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 July 2012
Format: Paperback
The Shadow Line is the second novel by Indian author, Amitav Ghosh. It is set in Calcutta, London and Dhaka, and tells the story of a Bengali and an English family and their involvement over some eighty years. Told as seen through the eyes of the narrator, whose name we never learn (perhaps this says something of his place in the story: to observe), the story opens in 1960 when he is just eight years old, and traces events that impacted on the family from the start of World War II to the late 1970s. Whilst this is ultimately a tragic tale which shows how international events can affect the population at an intimate level, the perspective of the young narrator makes for plenty of humour as well. The narrator's adulation for his older cousin, Tridib, and his infatuation with his cousin Ila, as well as his love for, and occasional exasperation with, his grandmother, all bring the characters to sparkling life. That the narrator could describe events where he was not present because he had absorbed the tales told and retold by others and made them his own, was a device I thought both clever and novel. "I could not persuade her that a place does not merely exist, that it has to be invented in one's imagination; that her practical, bustling London was no less invented than mine, neither more nor less true, only very far apart." In a background of the Partition of India and Pakistan and later the creation of Bangladesh, the observations about borders (Shadow Lines) are particularly pertinent: "It's all very well, you're going away now, but suppose when you get there they decide to draw another line somewhere? What will you do then? Where will you move to?" A compelling story, beautifully told.
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful By elsa on 16 July 2005
Format: Paperback
The Shadow lines is not what it appears to be. But as one slowly moves through this story spanning generations and continents, one feels a familiar old pull within. that of memory, identity, which in this ever changing world is constantly in a flux. The protagonist is a boy who grows up admiring his cousin Tridib, who with the power of words (and maps) enlivens this little boy's life. Tridib shares a bond with May, his father's English friend's daughter. Meanwhile, our protagonist too grows up listening to his cousin Ila's tales from all over the world, thanks to her IFS officer.
Between all these complex relationship is grandmother, who lives in nostlagia of that enchanted childhood she had in Dhaka before partition. The book moves slowly beautifully and conflict makes the incision at the right points. The complex web of relationships, of love, honour, friendship is cruelly broken when riots break out.
Beautifully written, the book gives a fresh perspective to those who have faced political conflicts
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By Sascot on 28 May 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
It is not often that I make a mistake buying a book but this time I have. I gave up after thirty pages. I did not have a clue what was going on. There is no unity of time or place, people come in to the narrative from nowhere and being based on an Indian family, there are scores of them. It is impossible to even know what era these people are from. One paragraph you are reading about the narrator being in conversation in a London pub, then immediately in the next you go back decades. Time blurs, people have no meaning. Hard work and hopeless.
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