8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Sundeeerrrrbans, 8 Dec 2006
The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh,.. focuses on Sunderbans - a vast archipelago of islands lying below Calcutta on the gulf between India and Bangladesh.
Two travellers venture into the Sunderbans - Piya, an American scientist of Indian descent, who is researching the endangered Urawaddy river dophins said to inhabit these tidal waters and Kanai - an urban New Delhi translator and businessman, who is visiting his aunt to receive an old notebook written by his uncle before he died mysteriously in a local uprising. Piya hires an illiterate boatman, Fokir, to guide her through the backwaters in her search for the dolphins and Kanai comes along to translate. The tension between the three rises and they each must learn about themselves as they face the dangers thrown at them by the Sunderban.
Book explains the history of the Sunderban region, the precarious ecology of the endangered river dolphins and the conservation projects surrounding the great Bengal tiger still living on these waterlogged islands. Kanai's uncle's notebook reveals the shocking story of the Morichjhapi incident, where tens of thousands of displaced refugees try and settle on one of the uninhabited islands but are violently evicted by the government in the name of conservation.
Through his characters' very different mind-sets, Ghosh posits urgent questions about humankind's place in nature in an atmospheric and suspenseful drama of love and survival that has particular resonance in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami.
The Hungry Tide is a compelling book about ordinary people bound together in an exotic place that can consume them all. It's the basest of human emotions, love, jealousy, pride, and trust.