The Glass Palace

by Amitav Ghosh

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh is a family saga and a work of historical fiction. It tells the story of an orphan boy from Indian named Rajkumar who creates an empire in Burma, the present-day Myanmar. It also tells the story of the Burmese royal family who is forced into exile in India when the British invade Burma’s capital in 1885.

With the royal family gone, the Glass Palace is empty, and people come from everywhere to loot its valuable treasures. In the midst of the chaos, Rajkumar sees one of the queen’s servants, a young girl named Dolly. Instantly, he is captivated by her, and he quickly falls in love with her. He promises to make a fortune and someday marry her. To that end, he builds a business trading teakwood and eventually owns a lumber mill. When he has enough money to search for Dolly, he finds her and marries her, and then he continues to amass wealth. When Japan invades the country during WWII, however, Rajkumar loses everything. Meanwhile, the Burmese Royal family has settled in a small fishing village near Bombay and struggle to adjust to their new life of limited means.

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