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The Calcutta Chromosome Paperback – 3 Feb 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (3 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848544154
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848544154
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 275,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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

An extraordinary novel from the best-selling author of the Ibis trilogy.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a remarkable book. Those who have read some of Ghosh's other books will know that he has a talent for combining impressive knowledge of history and a wide range of other subjects with very readable narrative and well-defined characters. All of this is present within this book, along with a hefty dose of sci-fi and thriller.

The story is incredibly imaginative and has some complex and facinating ideas in it. I won't reveal too much, as I think part of the joy of the book is finding out things as the story goes on, but the plot centres around the man who discovered how malaria is transmitted, Ronald Ross. One of the main characters, Murugan, is a huge Ross enthusiast, and devotes much of his life to studying the great man's work. But then he discovers something far more intriguing that puts him in danger of knowing too much...

My only problem with the book is that I thought the ending was a little muddled, and I was left with a vague idea of what had happened but was still bit fuzzy about some points. However, I still very much enjoyed reading it, and hopefully a re-read might make things a bit clearer!
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Format: Paperback
To some extent this novel is an oddity in Amitav Ghosh's output. Absent is the lushness of language that characterizes his other work, and here we get a story that is written in the style - both in terms of its structure and sentence construction - of a thriller. But this is Amitav Ghosh after all, so it is no ordinary thriller; it is perhaps a genre-making one: a post-colonial, occult, history-of-science thriller. And it has the hallmarks of Ghosh's other fiction: the concern with history, of overlapping narratives and time frames, a varied cast of characters. It shifts mostly between three settings: research into malaria in late-nineteenth-century India; a set of characters including an emigré Indian interested in the history of malaria research, whose lives intersect in late-twentieth-century Calcutta; and an undefined near future in which a New York-based data-processor reminisces on his meeting with the now disappeared emigré. As they should in any good thriller, all these stories intersect. I see that some reviewers felt the ending was a let down, that all was not explained to their satisfaction - yet surely that is the point, for at the heart of the story is a healing cult that is itself a mystery, a cult about which only initiates are fully informed. As non-initiates we are the excluded, excluded from full knowledge of its nature. In forgoing full disclosure, then, the book is a sort of anti-thriller, in much the same way that Cormac McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men" is an anti-crime-fiction novel: both subvert the genre they mimic. And on top of all this, it is a cracking good read.
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Format: Paperback
Switching between present day New York, India, and the India of the late 19th century, a highly original conspiracy to cure a disease via a route which forces various protagonists to meet in unorthodox fashions for the purpose of which eludes them. Amitav Ghosh has provided a fun book with enough twists and surprises to satisfy the most cynical reader. The most interesting question is its genre, some sci-fi, much thriller, a fusion of fact/fiction.
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Format: Paperback
The Calcutta chromosome is an extremely interesting novel. Taking place in New York in the future, in India at present time and in Egypt in the past, reincarnating the characters and discussing science - it is very unique. Funny at times and very very scary too. Read it - and you'll find yourself thinking about it and wondering for months to come... I loved it!
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Format: Paperback
What a disappointment! Having read The Glass Palace and being recommended Calcutta by Amazon, I read the blurb and suggested it to my reading group. We all thought it sounded excellent and read it for our meeting this month.
We were unanimously disappointed. Our ranking ranged from 2/10 'because it's probably got some depth if anyone could be bothered to read it twice' down to 1/10 'because it's got a lovely cover and it is a book, after all.'
The title of my review sums up our collective view. We felt the whole book had been carefully and elaborately constructed but it never seemed to achieve its potential. We all read to the end of the book, deluded that it would all become clear and the conspiracy would be revealed in the end. We were disappointed.
We are all educated professionals who read avidly. Many of us have studied English literature and so it seems astonishing that the entire novel appears to have gone over all our heads.
We are sure that there must be more to this book than any of us could find. If there is anyone out there who has read the book more than once (with the exception of the author and the editor!) we'd love to know what you think!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I stumbled upon Amitav Ghosh and started with The Glass Palace followed by the The Hungry Tide, both of which were stunningly good; then I read In an Antique Land which I had to drag myself to finish, looked more like a history book....next was The Calcutta Chromosome....I love medical history but found this book to be neither a historical account or a fiction...where it lies between is open to question, what it tries to convey is also perplexing....authors are also human and one cannot expect one author to write all masterpieces....The Shadow Lines provides excellent reading molded perhaps in the same quality as his more famous ones...without doubt his English is impeccable, but then perhaps Indian excel in English with a 400 year British Presence in India!!
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