The Shadow Lines: A Novel by Amitav Ghosh, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Shadow Lines

The Shadow Lines

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by Amitav Ghosh
     
 

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Opening in Calcutta in the 1960s, Amitav Ghosh's radiant second novel follows two families—one English, one Bengali—as their lives intertwine in tragic and comic ways. The narrator, Indian born and English educated, traces events back and forth in time, from the outbreak of World War II to the late twentieth century, through years of Bengali partition and

Overview

Opening in Calcutta in the 1960s, Amitav Ghosh's radiant second novel follows two families—one English, one Bengali—as their lives intertwine in tragic and comic ways. The narrator, Indian born and English educated, traces events back and forth in time, from the outbreak of World War II to the late twentieth century, through years of Bengali partition and violence, observing the ways in which political events invade private lives.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With Proustian precision, the narrator of Ghosh's second novel (after The Circle of Reason ) recalls the people and events that dominated his childhood in Calcutta in the '60s, and later in London, when those people, and the lasting influence of the events, come together in a circle of sorrow. The narrator focuses on two families known to each other since the time of the Raj: his own, in particular his cousin Ila and her young uncle Tridib, and the Prices, including the children May and Nick. Meticulously observant, he describes his school days, punctuated by visits with Tridib (whose conversation, especially about his visits with the Prices, the boy will remember almost word for word) or from Ila's family, who lived mostly abroad because her father was a diplomat. While the mystery at the tale's heart concerns Tridib's fate in the city of Dhaka during the summer of Bangladesh's Partition, in 1964, the effects of that crucial time--on the narrator, on May--do not unfold until nearly 20 years later. Such delayed understanding is the fuel that powers Ghosh's quiet, forceful writing, in which detail and memory are shown to shape our lives as effectively as events of global importance. Examining connectedness and separation, the author uses the fate of nations to offer observations about a profoundly human condition. (May)
Library Journal
In his splendid first novel, The Circle of Reason ( LJ 6/15/86), Ghosh touched on the themes of emigration, exile, and cultural displacement. Here, in language equally remarkable and even more refined, he weaves together the experiences of two families--one Bengali, the other English--to illustrate the hard reality and ultimate fragility of human boundaries. The narrator is an Indian boy whose identity is shaped by the stories he is told, and tells, about private lives and public events that span three generations. Moving back and forth through the 20th century by artful time shifts, the boy reaches beyond ``the seductive clarity of ignorance'' to ``a final redemptive mystery.'' Unlike the author's first novel, this is not a work of magical realism, but the magic not in the tale abounds in the telling.-- L.M. Lewis, Eastern Kentucky Univ., Richmond

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140118353
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
06/01/1990
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Amitav Ghosh is the internationally bestselling author of many works of fiction and non-fiction, including the novel The Glass Palace, and the recipient of numerous prizes and awards. He divides his time between Kolkata and Goa, India, and Brooklyn, New York.

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