Amitav Ghosh is certainly one of the most respected writers in terms of Indian English literature in India, no doubt about it any day. Aloof from what he does to remain relevant or in buzz, his writings have certainly raised the benchmark if any author wants to be inducted into the favourites circle of literary fiction writers in India (English). Today, I will be sharing my experience with his work The Hungry Tide, published in 2004.
The Hungry Tide might be called a perspective fiction, a psychological fiction or even, in the best terms, a literary fiction. It has a motif; it has a story, and it certainly has the depth in storytelling by the author. It begins with Piyali and Kanai coming from different worlds and settling (temporarily) in Kolkata for their respective works. Piyali is a biologist and Kanai is working in Delhi. However, the story unfolds into a different world with the diary of Kanai’s uncle being discovered by him. The underlying plot of Morichjhanpi takes the readers back to the year 1978-79 when many thousand refugees were forced to evict the island.
Filled with emotions, sentiments and thoughts, the novel raises many questions in front of the readers. While some can be answered logically, some just cannot be answered. In the form of Fokir, a character is introduced who tells the world that humanity and compassion aren’t limited to a circle of intellectuals and learned men of letters. The ecological concerns are also there in the novel. These ecological perspectives have recently come into more light with researchers taking interest in this dimension of The Hungry Tide.
In terms of language, plot and theme, the novel is a complete piece of fiction and can be enjoyed by the readers who have a basic understanding of the pace of literary fiction. It is not written in a haste and it is not a very fast-moving novel as well. The story takes its time to unfold and catches momentum only in the latter half when we see two parallel episodes going on – one in the past and one in the present. Many readers have shown their interest in the novel and also many leading book reviewers in India have praised the novel for its decent build up.
I would suggest the academic readers go through this novel (if their background is literature and if they have to study Indian English fiction). The modern readers who read contemporary fiction almost every Sunday should also go through this novel to understand where contemporary fiction lacks and what these big guns bring to fiction. You can get a copy of this novel from Amazon India by clicking the link below:
review by Amit for Featured Books
The Hungry Tide
It has everything you might have needed to dive deeper into a fiction!
It lacks, maybe, the pace with modern readers.