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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh is a story about love and life, politics and ecology, nature weather and myth, set in the Ganghes/Brahmaputra delta in Sundabar, India. The language is straightforward, and the keeper is how the different topics are connected at the core.
A young scientist comes to the area researching river dolphins and gets caught up in a love...
Published on 6 Jan 2006 by Johan Klovsjö

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, intelligent, philosophical - though lacking in characterisation
"The Hungry Tide" is the latest novel from Indian-born author Amitav Ghosh. Set in the Sundarban archipelago in the delta of the River Ganges, it follows the experiences of two people after they meet on a train from Calcutta: Piya Roy, a young American marine biologist of Indian parentage; and middle-aged Kanai Dutt, a commercially successful interpreter and translator...
Published on 5 Feb 2008 by The Wanderer


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 6 Jan 2006
By 
Johan Klovsjö (Göteborg, Sweden) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Hungry Tide (Hardcover)
The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh is a story about love and life, politics and ecology, nature weather and myth, set in the Ganghes/Brahmaputra delta in Sundabar, India. The language is straightforward, and the keeper is how the different topics are connected at the core.
A young scientist comes to the area researching river dolphins and gets caught up in a love triangle with the proud, educated, male visitor, and the 'wild' and simple, native, fisher. Through a notebook of the educated man's uncle we live through the story of not one but two generations on a similar theme in the area.
While the politics of the area are discussed, the nature is ever-imposing, eventually cataclysmically so, and the hearts of people never stop beating. The love story is very real, not romantic in any way. The end is quite gripping, and the story lingers. A great read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sundeeerrrrbans, 8 Dec 2006
By 
Yuva (Singapore) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Hungry Tide (Paperback)
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, evocative, thoughtful, but weak characterisation, 31 Dec 2006
This review is from: The Hungry Tide (Paperback)
I enjoyed reading this book for its setting most of all. The boat journeys through the Sunderbans area of Bengal were very evocative and a joy to read. It's a pity Ghosh could not work the same magic in devising his characters. Like other readers I was not convinced by the attraction between Piya and Fokir, and did not really understand the relationship between Kanai and Piya. It was almost as if the Sundarbans was the main character and the characters Piya, Fokir and Kanai were the backdrop.

I was intrigued enough to keep going with the subplot of the uprising but felt it was an anticlimax when Kanai came to the end of his uncles book detailing the uprising involving Fokir's mother but without actually telling us what happened to her. And anyway I did not care enough about Kanai to relate the uprising to him. The book is well researched and well written, with interesting insights and beautiful descriptions, however without well-drawn characters it feels like a beautifully written essay rather than a novel. Still, one can enjoy an essay, too, so a well-deserved four stars for this one. As a lover of books about India, I find that Ghosh is a strong writer and I intend to read more of his work. I have just bought the highly acclaimed `Glass Palace'
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, intelligent, philosophical - though lacking in characterisation, 5 Feb 2008
This review is from: The Hungry Tide (Paperback)
"The Hungry Tide" is the latest novel from Indian-born author Amitav Ghosh. Set in the Sundarban archipelago in the delta of the River Ganges, it follows the experiences of two people after they meet on a train from Calcutta: Piya Roy, a young American marine biologist of Indian parentage; and middle-aged Kanai Dutt, a commercially successful interpreter and translator. Piya is arriving for the first time on a research trip to study the river dolphins of the Sundarbans; Kanai, on the other hand, is returning for the first time in many years, after a lost notebook left to him by his long-deceased uncle suddenly turns up. As outsiders, however, they both soon find that this environment is more alien to their ways of life than they once thought.

Ghosh's ability to evoke a sense of time and place is evident; his depiction of the 'tide country', as the Sundarban archipelago is often referred to, is excellent. The reader is shown a timeless place where history, myth and the present merge into one, in which Man and nature are locked in constant competition, vying for domination of the land. In stark contrast to this almost primitive struggle for survival, however, the author brings out the richness and diversity of these islands' culture in great detail. The Sundarbans themselves transcend geopolitical boundaries, lying as they do on the Indian-Bangladeshi border, and their culture reflects this, drawing on Hindu, Muslim and Christian traditions as much as local folklore.

A setting as fully realised as this requires strong characters to act as counterpoints. Unfortunately both Piya and Kanai come across as rather two-dimensional and struggle to hold the reader's interest. It is difficult to get a feel for the relationship between them or to understand the reasons behind their actions. Piya's entire raison d'etre appears to be her study of the river dolphins; never do we get the chance to see her as an emotional human being outside of her occupation. Sometimes, too, what we are told about a character jars with how he or she is portrayed: for example, Kanai's supposed propensity for womanising fails to tally with his unease around the opposite sex. Part of the problem of characterisation may rest with the dialogue, which can on occasion feel somewhat clumsy. Also, though intelligently researched and full of thought-provoking themes, the prose is sometimes heavy-handed and lacks subtlety, instead of allowing the imagery to speak for itself and leaving the reader to draw his own conclusions.

In many ways "The Hungry Tide" feels less like a novel and more like a fictionalised study of Ghosh's chosen setting, with stories within stories within stories all serving to weave a complex tapestry of the places, people and histories that make up this fascinating environment. Although the characters require some patience from the reader, it therefore remains an absorbing read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 29 Mar 2010
By 
Jennifer Malsingh (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Hungry Tide (Paperback)
Every so often a book comes along that is so breathtakingly good that you never want it to end! This is how I felt about this book. Amitav Ghosh has clearly done his homework on the Sundarbans, and also on various other topics such as cyclones, tigers and river dolphins. The book is so filled with details because of this, that you will wonder if maybe the story is not fiction after all!

I disagree with the other reviewers who said that the characters are two dimensional and not well characterised. I think that you find out a lot about the characters throughout the book, but some of it is implied rather than said. Amitav Ghosh is an excellent writer who doesn't need to say "X was this" and "Y was that" to let you know about his characters. Though we are explicitly told a lot of information, it is also necessary for the reader to observe the way the characters act and react. I think that maybe the readers who did not feel a connection with the characters were not really paying attention.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ghosh just gets better and better, 15 Sep 2008
This review is from: The Hungry Tide (Paperback)
I am a big fan of Ghosh's writing and this is the latest one I've read - which, as usual, didn't disappoint. It has perhaps a simpler, less expansive plot than other works but still has various themes including nationality, poverty, some natural history and isolation - both personl and on a wider level. As usual though, the focus is on the relationships between the characters. At the end you are left wanting more; in many ways there could be a sequel.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat frustrating., 30 May 2006
This review is from: The Hungry Tide (Paperback)
Hmmm... maybe it's just me, but I have to admit I found it quite a slow and frustrating read. Sure, the setting is beautiful and the images of the tide country, its inhabitants and wildlife spring instantly to life, but I found the book stumbled when it came to the characters and storyline.

For starters, althought we are introduced to Kanai and Piya as what seem to be the main characters, the writer continues to introduce new ones, making it confusing who exactly the story is about. Perhaps it is a bout all of them but there is not much space in it for all to develop, making their actions somewhat unrealistic - how can Piya be in love with Fokir after spending just a day with him? And is Kanai following his usual predatory instincts in pursuing her, or is there a geniune interest? And what are Fokir's feelings exactly? He is played out as a very important link between several characters, but hardly speaks and gives us no justification for any of his actions or an insight to his emotions.

The story itself is also made up by a jumble of each person's separate stories, including Kanai's dead uncle's. The majority of the book alternates between the past and the present, making reading feel jarred and hard to follow.

The book indeed is a wonderful collection of stories, but I felt the links between those and the characters were too tenuous and superficial, which led to quite a frustrating read.

Sorry.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and gripping introduction to a far away world, 1 Jun 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Hungry Tide (Paperback)
I thouroughly enjoyed reading this novel. It was at once a gripping story and a learning experience. It transposed me straight into the Sundarbans, an area of India I had only heard about in passing. The descriptions were so vivid and the characters so real that I felt as if I were right there with them. Without taking sides, Ghosh also masterfully points to some of the conflicts and dichotomies which can arise when conservation of a valuable ecosystem is attempted without strategies for involving the local population. Last but not least, there is a great deal of thought provoking element in this book about human nature and relationships.
Overall, one of those books I just could not put down.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A warning for those living in a translated world, 27 Nov 2004
By 
M. Abhijit (Dhakuria, India) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Hungry Tide (Hardcover)
Amitav Ghosh is a master of the genre "Fictionalized Thesis". Before this one he excelled in ' In An Antique Land' in mixing fiction with facts gathered through painstaking research and the synergy turns out to be extraordinarily capable of conveying the message creating the desired effect. Though he extensively deals with science, Ghosh has appeared to nurture mystic elements within his basic views of the world, history. He seems to believe in destiny and recognizes omen as would be evident through his 'Calcutta Chromosome' also. His perception of history has its full quota of heroes. As he lamented in 'Dancing in Cambodia At Large in Burma' that the postmodern world has taken away from the middle class its heroes, here (in Hungry Tides) he is very firm in acknowledging them in his definition of things. And,with a quotation of Rilke here and a passionate interpretation of his own there,as always,he enthralls the poetically oriented one to one's heart's content.
Sundarbans, a vast forest that insulates the inland of lower Bengal in India from the ocean, is slowly being denuded of its bio-diversity; the ecological balance is seriously being threatened. And all these are because the life of the ordinary, extremely poor people living there do not count for anything to the political establishments. As the scientist Mr. Piddington warned, if the forest is itself endangered that is certainly to diminish the possibility of Calcutta being protected any more against the devastating oceanic storms of Bay of Bengal. Interestingly that threat of a sad destiny where the guilty will not be spared destruction is hinted at very clearly through a metaphorical local tale of Bon-bibi and Dakshin Rai among the dwellers of Sundarbans. The educated city people, the enlightened, unfortunately live in a translated world of their own and they failed to interpret the meaning of science, progress, civilization to the under-privileged, neither have the plight of these hapless people been earnestly conveyed to the outer world which could extend an effective helping hand. Ghosh attempts to bring back the memories of S'Daniel Hamilton to stress upon the importance of true enlightenment and indomitable human spirit keeping aside unnecessary categorizations of revolutionary, bourgeois, secular, pagan and so on. The author exhibits a rare sincerity in describing the life of the underprivileged but struggling people of Sundarbans with true respect. A hint of a development of romance between an illiterate boatman Fakir and the US born cetologist Piyali Roy who studies marine mammals, has been a remarkable technique to steer the narrative with cohesion.
And about the dolphins - appreciation for the book and its subsequent popularity will create innumerable experts and well-wishers all over the world - no doubt about that!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning evocation of the Sunderbans, 12 Nov 2013
By 
J. L. Towell (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hungry Tide (Paperback)
Multilayered story with some interesting insight into recent Indian social history. Ghosh is a consummate story teller who seems to have lost his way in the bizarre vocabulary of the Ibis trilogy (well the first two books). But Hungry Tide and Glass Palace are superb novels both far more desrving of a Booker nomination than the first Ibis book
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