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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 15 April 2017
I started this book fully expecting to enjoy it but struggled, eventually giving up on it. It is hard to put my finger on why but think that it was the use of English that I found hard. I have read plenty of novels written by Indian authors and never encountered any difficulty in the way that they are written and so am rather perplexed - perhaps it is the fact that the writer is American of Indian ancestry.
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on 25 August 2017
Rather contrived story I felt but a good read for all that. I knew nothing about the Sundabans - apologies if I am misspelling now - as I felt I learned a lot.. Something of a surprise, and a pleasant one, after the Sea of Poppies trilogy
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on 14 August 2017
Very good read. Story takes separate themes then blends them to the conclusion emotive and exciting and also informative.
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on 6 April 2017
A good read. rather too complicated, too many lives not properly explored...Very well written,a thoughtful book.
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on 6 January 2006
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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on 31 December 2006
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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on 27 May 2017
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on 5 February 2008
"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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on 29 March 2010
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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on 12 March 2017
Very different in style to The Glass Palace but still a very enjoyable read.
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