!!> Reading ➽ The Glass Palace ➶ Author Amitav Ghosh – Tactical-player.co.uk
The Glass Palace is a story which grows on the reader gradually the characters, who at first seem like well constructed caricatures, begin to resonate, their lives, passions, trials and tribulations draw the reader in, as they become increasingly invested in the exploration of the history three generations of a Indo Burmese family.The story begins in the final days of pre colonial Burma, as the enterprising young orphan Rajkumar begins his rise to wealth that this rise is largely based on exploitation and a kind of swaggering bravado is a result of the opportunities which Rajkumar had available to him in a colonial system which is based on exploitation and subjugation the only way to succeed financially is to ape the mannerisms and methods of the colonialists This is not to excuse Rajkumar s actions, but to offer an explanation Indeed one of the core themes of the book is that of actions and morality rather than offer a simplistic view of morality, Ghosh colours his characters actions with varying shades of grey, from the mutiny of Arjan, whose bluster and good will gradually dissolve in the dehumanisation of war, to Uma, whose supercilious demeanour belies her passionate humanism, Ghosh expertly weaves a rich tapestry of motivations behind the actions of the characters.The other key theme of the novel is colonialism, as one of the characters Dinu states Did we ever have a hope We rebelled against an empire that has shaped everything in our lives coloured everything in the world as we know it It is a huge, indelible stain which has tainted all of us We cannot destroy it without destroying ourselves The characters inhabit a world in which the insurmountable weight of colonialism holds them down, whether it is fighting a war which isn t theirs or seeing themselves via the prism of subjugation, where they are, to their oppressors at least, barely half human However, despite colonialism being a key theme in the novel, The Glass Palace , Ghosh does not allow this to limit the richness of the inner lives of the characters Instead, he is able to colour their relationship, from the failed marriage of The Collector and Uma, based on The Collector s desire to have a liberal and westernised wife in a world where women where women were barely granted any freedoms, or between Rajkumar and Dolly, who gradually build their love, or between Dinu and Alison, who gradually becomes attracted to Dinu s diffident, almost effeminate qualities after a brief liaison with the boisterous Arjan, The Glass Palace is fundamentally a novel about human relationships and love, of the slow unravelling of memory in the passage of time of the lives of characters which were bound to be lost but for some innocuous photographs which were able to capture their all too brief existence. Wow I have just finished one of my new favourite books And I believe I will hit the become a fan button on Ghosh s page here on Goodreads after I finish this I loved Sea of Poppies and River of Smoke too This book was a fantastic ride through part of South East Asia s history A fascinating family drama that never bored Well written and a sad but also touching end Well Done Set In Burma During The British Invasion Of , This Masterly Novel By Amitav Ghosh Tells The Story Of Rajkumar, A Poor Boy Lifted On The Tides Of Political And Social Chaos, Who Goes On To Create An Empire In The Burmese Teak Forest When Soldiers Force The Royal Family Out Of The Glass Palace And Into Exile, Rajkumar Befriends Dolly, A Young Woman In The Court Of The Burmese Queen, Whose Love Will Shape His Life He Cannot Forget Her, And Years Later, As A Rich Man, He Goes In Search Of Her The Struggles That Have Made Burma, India, And Malaya The Places They Are Today Are Illuminated In This Wonderful Novel By The Writer Chitra Divakaruni Calls A Master Storyteller Amitav Ghosh tells the story of a family and the tumultuous history of Burma Myanmar Burma is a country ravaged by war for than fifty years, which only became a delicate new democracy in 2015 Beautiful people in The Golden Land, live amidst the most scenic places on earth It s teak forests, gold, rubber, and other natural resources formed part of the colonial land grabbing in the 1800s, having Britain as their ruler for than 100 years Kipling s visit to Rangoon in Burma, inspired his poem Mandalay in 1890 This is a beautiful book An atmospheric, picturesque tale of a family s struggles through decades, probably eighty years, to survive the politics and social revolt in a country ravaged by greed and expansionism A wealth of characters form the backbone of the saga Rahkumar and Dolly are the main characters, starting out the journey for themselves and their descendants Amitav Gosh, not only captured the battle on the streets, in public squares, battlefields, palaces and gardens, he went into the houses intruding, violating privacy, to bring this tale alive An excellent historical fiction experience So well written and so detailed Mindblowing The only reason why I don t rate it higher is because it was too long But by gosh it would not have been the same read if much of the scenic background and social dynamics were not added to all the different strains of each character s life Quote from the bookpolitics has invaded everything, spared nothing religion, art, family it has taken over everything there is no escape from it and yet, what could be trivial, in the end. A really great read. If you like sagas, this was a good one, but in common with a lot of sagas is the large cast of characters Although I do rate Amitav Ghosh as a writer with great ability to draw characters, this time by the end of the book I couldn t keep straight who was who and what relationship they had to each other Often the people I was most interested in, just featured in a small bit of the book and after that heard from only in passing.After a long gap of years, I have only recently resumed reading light fiction, and probably I expect too much of it after immersing myself in many of the greats and a lot of non fiction I was drawn to this book though after reading Aravind Adiga s White Tiger and remembering how much I used to enjoy stories of the Raj Paul Scott, E.M Forster etc and read Ghosh s latest, Sea of Poppies, which I loved I didn t enjoy the Glass Palace as much as Sea of Poppies but still as I say, maybe I expect too much. Most of the historical fiction books I ve read have tried to do three things evoke a sense of time and place, depict historical events through the eyes of their characters, and last and often least, unfortunately, even though this is ostensibly the reason to read a novel in the first place , create multifaceted characters who are experiencing their own growth, development, and plot The best historical fiction books I ve read integrated all three of these goals into a smooth and readable narrative Gone With the Wind, for instance Unfortunately, much of the historical fiction I ve read has been mediocre and concentrated heavily on the first two goals describing the time and place, and following the historical timeline The third goal, that of creating an interesting plot and believable characters in their own right rather than simply using them as an excuse to give us the history, often falls short This was the case here as well.If I were really honest, I d put this on my couldn t finish shelf because I actually skimmed about 3 4 of it But since I did, in fact, push myself all the way to the end, I ll give myself a pass.I started out enjoying this book Ghosh s writing evoked the scene, and I wanted to read about the characters and their travails That ended, though, when things suddenly became choppy and contrived I want this character to get rich, Ghosh apparently decided, so I ll have him make this deal, have the other characters pay some lip service to how risky it is, and boom It works out Now, thought Ghosh, I want these two long lost people to reunite and end up marrying So, a quick reunion, a summary rejection by the woman, and then a dramatic scene where she changes her mind just as he s leaving and has to chase him down Poof They re married Many important events happened this way, while other parts of the book were extremely long and draggy unnecessarily so, in my opinion Much of the book seemed like an effort to situate the characters in convenient times and places so as to give us some history and promote an anti colonialist agenda Not that I m a fan of colonialism, but I m also not a fan of agenda driven novels.I did enjoy the fact that Ghosh focused on an unfamiliar to me setting Burma and made me aware of both its own history and its role in world events And I was interested in the characters and in what would happen to them at first Unfortunately, somewhere after p 100 the story started to fall flat for me, and then and characters and jumpy subplots were introduced as I found myself less and less motivated to follow them.I read Sea of Poppies, a later book by Ghosh, a while back and really enjoyed it I guess he matured as a writer, which is nice In this earlier novel, you do see his potential but from what I can see, his later work is much better. The first person I recommended this book to was an English professor, who said she was immediately transfixed Undoubtedly Amitav Ghosh s masterpiece his other novels do not even compare , The Glass Palace is an epic that takes place over three generations of a multi ethnic and multi class families in Southeast Asia Ghosh sets the novel in the Bengal region, which straddles modern day borders of India, Bangladesh, Burma, and Malaysia, demonstrating how the porous nature of these cultures makes a significant argument against the arbitrary boundaries drawn during the colonial eras The Glass Palace is both a critique and celebration of modernity, wrought through dynamic characters you come to know as family, indubitable historical descriptions that you feel Ghosh knows intimately, and myriad images, smells, sounds, and feeling compiled through a kind of snapshot montage Regardless of your personal history, reading The Glass Palace is like leafing through your own family s photo album. This book is epic in length and covers three generations of Indians in the countries of Malaya and Burma Myanmar from 1885 until the end of the twentieth century This is a very large scope and it is covered by disconnected chapters that are almost standalone essays A few are strongly written the torn loyalties of the Indian soldier when faced with continuing to serve a British master as part of the empire or switching to the Japanese side to drive the British out Some of the essay chapters seem to build to a point of interest and then abruptly end The subsequent actions of the characters may never be revealed, may be revealed multiple essays forward or might have been tucked into a prior chapter as throw away detail I would only recommend this book to someone who was interested in a very high level understanding of Indians in Burma I did not understand or empathize with any of the characters and would have preferred in depth coverage of a shorter period of time Maybe it is an Eastern War and Peace and needs to be read several times. The glass palace, Amitav Ghosh The Glass Palace is a 2000 historical novel by Indian writer Amitav Ghosh The novel is set in Burma, Bengal, India, and Malaya, spans a century from the fall of the Konbaung Dynasty in Mandalay, through the Second World War to modern times Focusing mainly on the early 20th Century, it explores a broad range of issues, ranging from the changing economic landscape of Burma and India, to pertinent questions about what constitutes a nation and how these change as society is swept along by the tide of modernity 2006 1381 557 9644423321 20 During my pre vegetarian days, I used to find solace in a warm, juicy scrumptious steak n cheese sandwich washed down by a chilled Heineken Especially, if the gooey cheese was a blend of Munster, Monterey jack and yellow cheddar the bread not too soggy but aptly moisten by the beef gravy It is pure bliss On the other hand, a classier version for 150 is layered with buttered lobsters, black truffles and caviar Now, why would someone mess up such a meticulous appetizing combination Stop Do not ruin the sandwich Sometimes finding equilibrium with the culinary fest becomes essential to restrict the malfunction of the taste buds What a fucking nincompoop you would say, comparing an internationally acclaimed novel to a mere sandwich Hey I am somehow craving for meat now and couldn t find a better way to evaluate this book I am not going to air kiss and bestow courteous admiring comments as to how the book merges a fascinating piece of history with a gratifying story The cynical bitch that I am, I want to know if it was worth my money.Encyclopedia Encyclopedia That is the golden word here C mon Ghosh, you know better that sometimes too much chronological information in a fiction novel can be irksome and skepticism may prevail over the respective purchase There were times, many times throughout the narration, I wished to have simply bought a non fiction Burmese history book and could have used the remaining to purchase some beer Alcohol did prove to be a crucial company during some parts of my reading One thing you should be sure of, Ghosh loves history and with his books one can gain knowledge of varied historical eras For all the history buffs out there, it s treat fellas Just like his in depth elucidations on the opium wars in Sea of Poppies, Ghosh spans put this plot over a century ranging from the fall of Mandalay, the World wars III , the Japanese invasion of Malay, the Indian independence and finally the modern times with a mention of Aung San Suu Kyi.Phew It is not that bad The transformation of landscapes and the changes in fortune and agricultural economies turn out to be quite mesmerizing The exile of King Thibaw and the aftermath of his family life in the western coastal region of India was job well done.As for the creative writing part of it, the lives and families of Rajkumar and Dolly over three generations were loosely scripted and eventually got a bit unexciting At times there is hurriedness in the author s writing which can be evidently seen in the abrupt endings of some chapters It seems like Ghosh, at some point must have been overwhelmed with his subjective research and could not find symmetry between reality and fantasy Just like the fancy steak sandwich all those flavors of buttered crustacean, meat, cheese, truffles and maybe salmon roe, it a medley of disaster It is not worth to separate the ingredients and if eaten in it entirety one cannot taste a damn thing Lastly, I like to thank the makers of Heineken for not only making the vegetarians a happy bunch of people, but ,also for a superb fermentation process without which there would not be any chilled beer to be pleasured on a blistering day and help my reading As for Ghosh, darling, it would be an immense delight to meet you in person as far as the books goes I would delightfully adore them only through the display windows.