The Hungry Tide (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
The Hungry Tide is the fifth English-language novel by Amitav Ghosh and, like his earlier works, it reflects the author’s expertise as a sociologist with a Ph.D. from Oxford University, his broad general knowledge, and his insight into the colonial past. English and American writers would find it difficult to surpass Ghosh’s elegant style. Although in his early works he has sometimes lost control of the narrative, he handles the intricate structure of The Hungry Tide as effectively as he does the book’s various themes.
As one of Ghosh’s recurring themes is the presence of the past, it follows that the action in his novels typically takes place over long periods of time. In The Shadow Lines (1988), he follows two families through three generations and more than half a century. His novel The Glass Palace (2000) spans 115 years. By contrast, The Hungry Tide involves just a few weeks in the lives of a few characters. The time frame is greatly expanded, however, through accounts of past events, sometimes presented by the characters and at other times by the narrator through a journal written thirty years before and through a myth which originated in a far distant past.
At the beginning of the novel, Kanai Dutt, a middle-aged businessman from New Delhi, encounters Piyali Roy, or Piya, a young marine biologist from Seattle. They are on a train to Canning, in southeastern India, from where they will...
(The entire section is 1773 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Booklist 101, no. 15 (April 1, 2005): 1341.
The Economist 372 (July 17, 2004): 81.
Far Eastern Economic Review 167, no. 34 (August 26, 2004): 53.
Kirkus Reviews 73, no. 3 (February 1, 2005): 137.
The Nation 280, no. 23 (June 13, 2005): 24-28.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 7 (February 14, 2005): 50.
The Times Literary Supplement, July 16, 2004, p. 21.
The Washington Post Book World 35 (May 8, 2005): 12.
(The entire section is 37 words.)