Amitav Ghosh in Conversation with Rachel Myrow
At the heart of Amitav Ghosh's newest novel, Sea of Poppies, is a vast ship, the Ibis. The ship makes a voyage across the Indian Ocean, ferrying soldiers to fight in China's vicious nineteenth-century Opium Wars. As for the crew, they are a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts. On the Ibis, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mixed-race American freedman to a free-spirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers. An unlikely dynasty is born, which will span continents, races, and generations. 'Hugely entertaining . . . [Sea of Poppies] is utterly involving and piles on the tension until the very last page . . . The next volume cannot come too soon.' 'Peter Parker, The Sunday Times (London) '[A] terrific novel . . . In bringing his troupe of characters to Calcutta . . . Ghosh provides the reader with all manner of stories, and equips himself with the personnel to man and navigate an old-fashioned literary three-decker . . . Yet for all its research, Sea of Poppies is full of the open air. It never, as the eighteenth century used to say, 'smells of the lamp.' ' 'James Buchan, The Guardian Amitav Ghosh is the internationally bestselling author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Glass Palace, and is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. He divides his time between Kolkata (Calcutta), Goa, and Brooklyn. Short-listed for the Booker Prize in 2008, Sea of Poppies is the first volume of Ghosh's Ibis Trilogy. Rachael Myrow (moderator) is reporter and the morning host for KQED's California Report, a statewide news program that provides daily coverage of the most important news and trends affecting California.