The Hungry Tide – Amitav Ghosh

The_Hungry_TideThe imagery invoked in the book transports you to one of the remotest corners of India and indulges your fear of nature and of nature’s abundance. The beastly fight for survival that we have drawn away from through urbanization and our withdrawal from the hinterlands is brought to a poetic light in the book. The crawling pace of life in the Sunderbans is juxtaposed with the swirling gathering of storms and toophans (or Typhoons). Alongside the alienated world of dolphins and their patterns sit the encroaching world of Royal Bengal Tigers and their own distinct footprints. One appeals to the outsider (Pia) while the other sits deeply in the veins of its residents (Fokir, Kusum, Neelima). The insider-outsider, represented by Kanai, presents a contrast in his feelings and thoughts about the rural countryside. This coming-together of three individuals with some or no ties to the place they happen to converge to brings to fore several vantage points. As each person sizes up the other, the platter begins to boil well from the undercurrents of resentment and preconceived notions. The book tries to represent love, filiality, belonging, superstition, survival, disenchantment, idealism in its very primitive avatar. There is a constant tussle with life, with the nature and with your own thoughts. My debut with Ghosh was promising indeed. The Ibis trilogy awaits in earnest.



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