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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An little known gem
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...
Published on 26 Sep 2008 by E N Cuentro

versus
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not for me
I was disappointed with this book, I didn't like the way it kept jumping around from one time zone to another. The characters were not well drawn. I lost interest after 90 pages and have now moved on to the Glass Palace, which is much better.
Published on 21 July 2011 by richie


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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An little known gem, 26 Sep 2008
This review is from: The Shadow Lines (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 25 Jun 2013
This review is from: The Shadow Lines (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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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Shadow lines, 16 July 2005
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This review is from: The Shadow Lines (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars compelling story, beautifully told, 8 July 2012
By 
Cloggie Downunder (Australia) - See all my reviews
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Kindle Access, 13 Jun 2014
By 
Mr. Sanjay Paul (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Shadow Lines (Kindle Edition)
I needed an immediate access to the book for writing an academic paper. I just logged on, bought and there it was for me to read,almost instantly. I can instantly get access wherever I need it, doesn't occupy space or gather dust. It is amazing. [Wish there was a Search facility and Index to the Kindle, that'll help for easy citation, otherwise great!)

Also, someone told me there is a biography at the end of the original print edition. I couldn't find that in my Kindle version. Wonder if she was mistaken...
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4.0 out of 5 stars good novel, 26 April 2014
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This review is from: The Shadow Lines (Paperback)
Ghosh is an excellent writer. This book is set in Calcutta and London and weaves a very interesting story involving both of these locations. I recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written, 9 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Shadow Lines (Kindle Edition)
great story well told. The characters are well developed and the plot interesting. I'm glad I don't have a grandmother like this one!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not for me, 21 July 2011
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This review is from: The Shadow Lines (Paperback)
I was disappointed with this book, I didn't like the way it kept jumping around from one time zone to another. The characters were not well drawn. I lost interest after 90 pages and have now moved on to the Glass Palace, which is much better.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another good book by Amitav Ghosh, 17 April 2013
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This review is from: The Shadow Lines (Kindle Edition)
I found the story-line slightly confusing as he jumps in time to make his analogy. I would have preferred it to be writte in chapters so that I could put it down at the end of a chapter. However the subject matter is good
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dreamy and understated, 4 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Shadow Lines (Paperback)
This story opens in Calcutta in the 1960s. A young boy lives with his parents and his Grandmother. The young boy is drawn to the exotic, which for him is his extended family who have travelled to London, who know people in London. His inner life centres on a world that, fed by stories, he knows only in his imagination.

As the novel progresses, more members of the extended family appear and more links are drawn between London and Calcutta. Sometimes it is a bit difficult to follow - there aren't many family members, but somehow I found it difficult to keep track of where they fitted in - a small family tree might have helped.

The style is dreamy, understated and retrospective. It says 'wistful' on the backcover of my copy, so don't expect a lot of action.

Would I recommend it? Yes and no. I was fascinated by the vision of England as created by a young Indian boy in the 1960s, but ultimately it I feel it falls into a 'literary fiction' slot that isn't really my cup of tea. I'm glad that I have read it, but won't be passing it around my friends.
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The Shadow Lines
The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh (Paperback - 6 Jan 2011)
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