“River of Smoke,” the second volume of his ambitious Ibis trilogy, is the It is clear that Ghosh is fascinated by the history of Canton and, within. River of Smoke has ratings and reviews. Arah-Lynda said: The absence of food doesn’t make a man forsake hunger – it only makes him hungrier . by Amitav Ghosh (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $28) River of Smoke The second book in Ghosh’s Ibis trilogy is set in the eighteen-thirties, when.

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He is a businessman who is concerned only with making money – enough to raise his status in the eyes of his in-laws and make himself feel respectable. He learns that the pent-up Chinese demand for opium means the prices that can be extracted are very high.

River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh – review

The government is to you what God is to agnostics — only to be invoked when your own well-being is at stake! If you didn’t know the history in any detail before I did but that’s because of my student days you will learn a lot, and be most entertained along the way.

Quotes from River of Smoke. A Conversation with Nathalie Handal. You can feel, see, and smell every part of Canton, China where the setting has now moved from India. Desertblues I would say: This is not a story told in hindsight… it is told in real time with what one recognizes must be real peoples reactions to real time events.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. The book moves among several sets of characters whose dealings and fates are sometimes closely and sometimes distantly intertwined and all of which would make a fascinating read on their own. Second, the style is so preposterous, with everything over-written, over-emphasized, and the flattery of Paulette over-loaded.

River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh | World Literature Today

The novel renders with subtlety just how the nuances of condescension and exclusion work in the peculiar world of the foreign trading enclave, and in this pre-Indian Rebellion period of race relations. To set about this confluence, Ghosh picks up, in the first third of River of Smoke, two separate narrative strands: Other details from the life of the all-male Canton trading enclave are fascinating, too: It can be read even if one has not read the first part.


But another visitor is asked to make his not-insignificant contribution: Ghosh also invents an interesting literary device to massage the essayist in him: Customers who bought this item also bought. The colours are quite different though, brighter and more varied: There is a whole lot of historical name-dropping going on too.

Everything is lushly detailed down to the food that I can practically smell off the pages to the fabled botanicals of China.

River of Smoke

The first book took many characters to tell the story of how the Opium was produced by the East India Company in India. All will converge in Canton’s Fanqui-town, or Foreign Enclave, a powder keg awaiting a spark to ignite the Opium Wars.

In September a storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and the Ibisa ship carrying a consignment of convicts and indentured laborers from Calcutta to Mauritius, is caught up in the whirlwind. But one has to read and savour the descriptively lyrical prose of Amitav Ghosh. And if the third one is half as good, I am going to read and savour this whole series in my dotage.

In his own words: He makes no attempt to hide his feelings on this one, nor is he very subtle when making the clear connections between that era and the globalization era today.

My education as to world history is poor, so I am grateful to writers like Ghosh who can make history fascinating and inspire further inquiry.

This was the second instalment of the Ibis trilogy by Amitav Ghosh. We are introduced to him and his cargo as they sail though a huge storm as he fights against the real possibility of his losing his cargo and investment. After the incidents on Ibis, which was caught in a storm and eventually ended up in Mauritius, but with a few passengers less, the story help in this novel begins from where it left off.

A second read often opens up hidden doors and clears the mental fugue. This is a new character, an Indian opium runner in Canton, and most of the major characters from the first book are relegated to extras. I strongly recommend reading the first book, Sea of Poppies, first. Even Paulette – who unlike most of the characters from the first book actually has a nominally central role – gets completely marginalized from the action both geographically and actually.

It is the story of horticulture, food, tea, love, men with two families, one in each continent, an extremely talented and prolific gay artist is involved, although his letters are written in a hilariously clever way that some naive souls may not even understand that his stories include metaphors about his gay behavior, travel to the orient, miserable time at sea, elegant living of the rich and the relationships between the Chinese and the foreigners and how the Americans and sometimes Christian and mainly the British were such bullies.


River of Smoke HB: Here we are primarily concentrating on the events in Canton, where the opium traders are at an impasse with the Chinese Commissioner, who is to put an end to the opium entering China at the request of the Emperor. There, trading depots called factories have been set up; these serve as living quarters, offices, places of congregation the Chinese call them Hongs. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

The first, Sea of Poppiespublished intook us along the Ganges and to Calcutta, where the poppies are grown and the opium processed. The convicts Neel Rattan, a Bengali Zamindar, and Ah Fatt, a criminal from Canton, escape from the ship along with a couple of lascars.

And he obviously loves his food! View all 4 comments. Trivia About River of Smoke. The British had the most to lose, the Chinese the most to gain and in the process thousands of tons of opium changed hands or got lost.

River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh

The novel feels stitched together clumsily in a few places. Fear not, Ghosh lays a lavish table guaranteed to whet your appetite. River of Smoke details the life at sea and in the foreign enclave in Canton of the immensely rich men amoke dominated the trade, principally Britons.

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As book two begins we are introduced to two other ships who are riding out the storm with the Ibis? Of course Paulette, interested in botany, is happy to be on the journey. One can easily tell Ghosh has done extensive research and poured gallons of history in this story. Rlver Arvind and Jaya, for reading alongwith.