Amitav Ghosh is one of India’s leading contemporary English writers. Born in 1956 Calcutta, Ghosh spent his early years in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, while he studied in Delhi, Oxford, and in Egypt. The popular author writes both fiction and non-fiction. Here are a few books by him that you should definitely read.
The Circle of Reason
The Circle of Reason was Ghosh’s debut novel in the year 1988. Alu’s foster father enlists him as a soldier to fight against the forces. They are suspected of terrorism, but an unfortunate situation forces Alu to run away from his village. He travels from Calcutta to Goa onto a fishing trawler that illegally ships immigrants to Africa while being chased by a police officer all this while.
The Shadow Lines
Set against the backdrop of historical events like the Swadeshi movement, Second World War, Partition of India and communal riots of 1963-64 in Dhaka and Calcutta, The Shadow Lines is a funny yet moving story of a young boy who travels across time and boundaries, through the memories and tales of people around him. This book won Ghosh Sahitya Akademi Award.
The Calcutta Chromosome
This science thriller by Ghosh beautifully depicts the Victorian era and contemporary India. The book navigates through time to begin in the future and follows the protagonist, L. Murugan, who is in search of what he calls the ‘Calcutta Chromosome’.
Sea of Poppies
Sea of Poppies is the first book in the Ibis trilogy. The book is based on a bunch of sailors, convicts, and coolies who are sailing down the Hooghly on their way to Mauritius aboard the Ibis. During their journey, their equations change to that of ship brothers as they dream of a future of new lives built on remote islands where they’ll be taken.
River of Smoke
River os smoke is the second book in the Ibis trilogy. The book follows the lives of people aboard three ships- the Ibis, the Redruth and the Anahita- which are caught in a storm. Their fortunes change as they land on China’s crowded harbors of the 19th century and struggle to survive.
The Great Derangement
The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable is a 2016 non-fiction work by Ghosh. He shares his thoughts about climate change and how future generations might think of our generation as deranged. According to the book’s blurb, in this non-fiction work, the author ‘examines our inability at the level of literature, history, and politics to grasp the scale and violence of climate change’. He shows that the history of the carbon economy is a tangled global story with many contradictory and counterintuitive elements.
You can have a look at lesser-known facts about Amitav Ghosh by clicking here.