Friday, November 21, 2008

Book Review: "The Shadow Lines"


A Novel by “Amitav Ghosh”

‘The Shadow Lines’ is novel written by one of the well known and celebrated Indian author Mr. Amitav Ghosh. This novel is “Sahitya Akademy Award” winner which is very much prestigious award in Indian literature. And this recognition by Sahitya Akademy led me to read the book.

This book is released in way back in 1988. Amitav Ghosh has really distinctive style of writing. His novel doesn’t have the big glamour, romanticism, heroism or drama like others. But it is more intense, sensitive, moving and more close to human emotions. The book is about a boy and his world through is eyes and his imagination. It is about his uncle who teaches him to travel the world through his imagination. It’s about his grandmother and struggle through her life after husband’s demise to raise her son without taking anyone’s help. It is about boy’s cousin Ila, his love interest who invariably brakes his heart. And it is about many such people. But more importantly is based on the backdrop of riots in Calcutta and post-partition Dhaka in 60’s, as well as in London in 60’s and in wartime of 1939 in London.

The author manage shape up the book as a web of memories of a person, he starts describing from one point which led him to various situations. His interpretation not time or place bound, he keeps on moving in past and present or from Calcutta, London or Dhaka. It is like solving a puzzle, he is arranging the pieces one by one and after some time he comes back to point where he started from and rearrange and start other side of it. It deals with relationship, history, myths, politics, humor and many things.

As the name Shadow Line suggest the author builds story builds the story around the lines drawn between people and nations. Which has been drawn by some unfortunate circumstances or by someone else or the character in the novel themselves draw it; but they could not wipe it away nor could they get accustomed to it. So there comes agitation invariably in nations or relationships of individual.

In simple words the book is remarkable and brilliant. It would move every sensible man. If I have to rate the book I will give it 10 out of 10. The book will find top spot in anyone’s personal collection.

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