Since I manage to be offending people left and right with my potty mouth and insults to Worcester (I really have no bad feelings toward the town), I’ll stick to books here. I finished a novel by Amitav Ghosh last night called Sea of Poppies, due out this Fall. I’ve never read him before, but now I want to visit his older works. Has anyone read him and recommend a particular book? I thought Sea of Poppies quite brilliant. It’s a historical novel set right before the Opium Wars in the nineteenth century. During a time of colonial upheaval, a cast of characters varying from opium farmers to a French orphan to a bankrupt raja find themselves aboard the ship called The Ibis. It’s full of collolquialisms that I’m not even sure I understand now but gives a particular flavor to the book. Great read.
For something far different, I turned to The Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar. I’m not sure I love the jacket on the book (you can see it on the right), but it’s pretty entertaining so far. It kept me patient while waiting at the doctor’s office anyway. After this, I might read Stoner by John Williams, based on Matthew Cheney’s post. Like Matthew, I’ve been hearing about that book here and there for some time now, sort of like The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll by Alvaro Mutis, another NYRB Classics book. I keep meaning to read them. Now I’m determined to get my hands on copies.
I absolutely could not stand Ghosh’s “Glass Palace” when I read it a few years ago. On that basis, I’ve decided to stay away from him. Those of you who enjoy “postcolonial” lit may have an easier time with Ghosh than I have. I also really didn’t enjoy V.S. Naipaul’s “A Bend In The River,” nor even Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart,” so clearly your mileage may vary.
I finally got my hands on a copy of “Maqroll” – wasn’t easy to come by, for some reason.
Matt Cheney’s “Stoner” ravings convinced me, as well.
Looking back at that last sentence, mmm, maybe misconstrue-able, but I’ll let it stand.
I will second Matt Cheney’s support for “Stoner.” It is quiet, intense and sadly stoic. A worthy read.
Thanks for recommending “Sea of Poppies. A few years ago, I read Ghosh’s “Calcutta Chromosome,” which, when I bought it eight years ago, had been unfortunately packaged in mass market. This is a literary thriller, smart and complex, about malaria and medical discovery, with a conspiracy and a touch of the supernatural. Not only was I not disappointed, but the story stuck with me for a long time.
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