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The Shadow Lines Paperback – 3 May 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Paperback, 3 May 2005
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Product details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (3 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061832996X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618329960
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,408,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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)


'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) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A haunting novel from the best-selling author of the Ibis trilogy. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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