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River of Smoke
River of Smoke
River of Smoke
Аудиокнига22 часа

River of Smoke

Написано Amitav Ghosh

Озвучено Sanjiv Jhaveri

Рейтинг: 3.5 из 5 звезд

3.5/5

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Об этой аудиокниге

The Ibis, loaded to its gunwales with a cargo of indentured servants, is in the grip of a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal; among the dozens flailing for survival are Neel, the pampered raja who has been convicted of embezzlement; Paulette, the French orphan masquerading as a deck-hand; and Deeti, the widowed poppy grower fleeing her homeland with her lover, Kalua.

The storm also threatens the clipper ship Anahita, groaning with the largest consignment of opium ever to leave India for Canton. And the Redruth, a nursery ship, carries Frederick "Fitcher" Penrose, a horticulturist determined to track down the priceless treasures of China that are hidden in plain sight: its plants that have the power to heal, or beautify, or intoxicate. All will converge in Canton's Fanqui-town, or Foreign Enclave: a tumultuous world unto itself where civilizations clash and sometimes fuse. It is a powder keg awaiting a spark to ignite the Opium Wars.

Spectacular coincidences, startling reversals of fortune, and tender love stories abound. But this is much more than an irresistible page-turner. The blind quest for money, the primacy of the drug trade, the concealment of base impulses behind the rhetoric of freedom: in River of Smoke the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries converge, and the result is a consuming historical novel with powerful contemporary resonance. Critics praised Sea of Poppies for its vibrant storytelling, antic humor, and rich nar¬rative scope; now Amitav Ghosh continues the epic that has charmed and compelled readers all over the globe.


PRAISE FOR River of Smoke

"On one level, [River of Smoke] is a remarkable feat of research, bringing alive the hybrid customs of food and dress and the competing philosophies of the period with intimate precision; on another it is a subversive act of empathy, viewing a whole panorama of world history from the 'wrong' end of the telescope. The real trick, though, is that it is also fabulously entertaining." -Tim Adams, The Observer (London)

"Eloquent . . . Fascinating . . . [River of Smoke's] strength lies in how thoroughly Ghosh fills out his research with his novelistic fantasy, seduced by each new situation that presents itself and each new character, so that at their best the scenes read with a sensual freshness as if they were happening now." -Tessa Hadley, The Guardian

"[This] vast book has a Dickensian sweep of characters, high- and low-life intermingling . . . Ghosh conjures up a thrilling sense of place." -The Economist
ЯзыкEnglish
ИздательBrilliance Audio
Дата выпуска27 сент. 2011 г.
ISBN9781423373858
River of Smoke
Автор

Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956. He studied at the Doon School; St. Stephens College; Delhi University; Oxford University; and the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alexandria. His first job was at the Indian Express newspaper in New Delhi. He earned his doctorate at Oxford before he wrote his first novel.In February 2004 Amitav Ghosh was appointed Visiting Professor in the Department of English at Harvard University. He is married with two children and lives in New York.

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Рейтинг: 3.316151202749141 из 5 звезд
3.5/5

291 оценка86 отзывов

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  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    This is second of three volumes of novels about the British opium trade to China in the mid 19th century.While the first volume carried the historical background lightly on the wonderful story telling, this second volume is more laboured. The historical background is now the lead part of the book, and weaving the historical with the narrative has become more contrived. But, having said that, this series is shaping up as something special, and I will be certain to read the final volume.Read March 2018
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    Should have been more engaging, especially as I was reading it in modern Canton... I'm partly to blame, because I don't really know anything about the Opium Wars but I rather hoped I would have a better feel for it after reading this. It came across more like a village squabble though, the focus on how it affected the individual seemed to be at the expense of the big picture... suppose I should read a history book to learn more and not expect too much from fiction...
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5
    Here is fabulous storytelling of a type hard to find these days. While River of Smoke is the second in a trilogy (after Sea of Poppies), one does not have to have read the first book to become completely swept up in the second. A largely new cast of characters fills this work as the reader is transported to Canton in the time immediately leading up to the First Opium War. The language is especially rich, and as I was listening, I relished the pidgin, the Indian English, and all the atmosphere of the many nationalities jostling in Canton. I can't wait for the next one!
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    After *LOVING* Sea of Poppies, I was disappointed in River of Smoke. :( I hope the third book might pick up again with some of the other characters from the first volume. River of Smoke touches on several of the characters, but mainly focuses on men and their activities in Canton at the beginning of the Opium Wars. It contains interesting, in-depth descriptions of life there among the "factories", but life was sort of repetitive and I found myself just irritated with the pomposity and swagger of the foreign traders. The personality of one of the characters, Robin, as conveyed through his letters, was also annoying. I kept thinking he was after revenge for a long ago hurt, which made me think he was more and more conniving as the story went on and he seemed to string along his correspondent. I just wanted to slap them all. Sigh. Maybe all will be revealed in volume 3?
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    Well, its a bit of a penny dreadful isnt it? The book it reminds me most of is Barry Unsworth's Sacred Hunger - its very much written to the same formula. Find a vanished aspect of colonialism, in Unsworth's case the slave trade, for Ghosh its the opium trade, and you can construct a narrative thread that brings together a motley cast of mutlicultural characters. Even better if you can grasp the patois of the time - and Ghosh's use of maritime patois based on a mix of Malay, Hindi, Portugese and goodness knows what else, is the best thing about the book. The language feels right and helps you get into the characters' skins.But the plot is predictable; people you think will fall in love, do so. People's who's fall is predicted, duly fall (finding humility in the process). Blaggards get their come uppance. True love overcomes obstacles. To the author's credit the plot rattles along and mostly sweeps you with it. But the author also has an irritating need to tie up all possible loose ends - characters who leave the narrative on p60 duly reappear on p400 - and how likely is it that you will find someone from your home village in central India on a ship from Calcutta to Mauritius for the sake of tying up a loose plot line? I find that sort of thing irritatingSo overall entertaining in its way, but literary fiction its not
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    “The vision of a tall-masted ship, at sail on the ocean, came to Deeti on an otherwise ordinary day, but she knew instantly that the apparition was a sign of destiny, for she had never seen such a vessel before, not even in a dream: how could she have, living as she did in northern Bihar, four hundred miles from the coast? Her village was so far inland that the sea seemed as distant as the netherworld: it was the chasm of darkness where the holy Ganga disappeared into the Kala-Pani, ‘the black water.’” (3)So begins Sea of Poppies, set in 1838 India, prior to the Opium Wars. At present, the opium trade is depleted as a result of resistance from the Chinese government. The “tall-masted ship” will prove to be the Ibis, a former slaving ship come vessel of the opium trade, now in refit to transport indentured labour from Calcutta to Mauritius. The novel is replete with a lengthy host of colorful and varied characters. The main ones include: Deeti, a simple and pious widow of a worker in the opium trade; Zachary Reid, an American sailor born to a slave mother and white father, a mulatto, who will become second in command of the Ibis; Neel Rattan Halder, a wealthy rajah whose estates have fallen desperately into debt, and who will find himself the victim of a corrupt justice system; Benjamin Burnham, owner of The Ibis, a wealthy evangelist opium trader and an influential force in Calcutta; Paulette, a French orphan raised in India, fluent in Bengali and uniquely more comfortable with Indian manners, food, and dress than with Western ones. As the stories merge, all of the characters will find themselves aboard the Ibis – the ship becoming, in essence, a shelter for those who are destitute. But the adventure is nowhere near finished: what “the black water” holds in store for each remains to be seen.Sea of Poppies is written in three parts: Part I, Land (Calcutta); Part II, River (Ganga); and Part III, Sea (Indian Ocean). Amitav Ghosh is a consummate storyteller. His characters are richly and appreciatively drawn, each with a compelling story of his or her own. And his prose is exceptional: beautifully written, alluring and captivating. The glossary at the back of the book is helpful, though admittedly I often did not want to interrupt my reading, so many passages read as best-educated-guess-in-context. Will definitely read River of Smoke. This one is highly recommended.“She looked at the seed as if she had never seen one before, and suddenly she knew that it was not the planet above that governed her life: it was this minuscule orb – at once bountiful and all-devouring, merciful and destructive, sustaining and vengeful. This was her Shani, her Saturn.” (415)
  • Рейтинг: 2 из 5 звезд
    2/5
    I enjoyed this book more than my star rating will show. However, it received a 2 because it was too long (IMO, obviously). We are introduced to a number of people and at some point the reader realizes they'll all meet on a boat. At that point it's just waiting until they get on the dang boat so the story can move forward! Maybe on a different day the slow pace of everything wouldn't have irked me the way it did, but I didn't read it on a different day. It could also be that I listened to the story. If I'd been reading it my reaction could have been different as I read faster than I'm read to.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    Sea of Poppies - Amitav GhoshDeeti has this vision of a ship, and a premonition that it will play a role in her life in times to come. How can a simple native woman, bound to her lands and her husband forever suddenly find herself on a ship is something she cannot envision. All she does is to tend to her small farm while her husband works in the opium factory.Zachary has signed on as a cabin boy but finds himself rising through the ranks rapidly till he is the 2nd mate to the captain. He just wants to do his job honestly and make it in life. He is just a man of mixed colour from Baltimore, but finds himself stamped as a white gentleman.Paulette is the daughter of a deceased Botanist living on charity. Her benefactors dont know that she is more native than the natives and has a brother too.Pandit Nob Kissin Pandey is an accountant with a mission. He wants to recreate the world of Krishna and has already sighted a person who is the latest avatar of the Lord.Raja Neel is lord of all he surveys, but he know how precarious his financial position is. What he does not know is the devious means that can easily be used against him to reduce him to the lowest form of human existence.Mr. Burnham himself indirectly controlling the destiny of all these people though he is just a merchant who wants to makes profit.How all these people, including Kalua, Heeru, Munia, Serang Ali, Jodu and many others find themselves abroad the Ibis is what constitues the story.It is the first in the series of a promised trilogy by Amitav Ghosh. In this novel, he traces the background of his characters and gives us a hint of what to expect in future.Amitav paints an unhurried picture of his characters, to make us understand them all the better. We are sent back to the times when British were the masters of the world, thanks to their understanding of the seas. However, it is their cunning nature and adaptability that makes them win the game, again and again. They knew how to set up ruses and use their trump cards. They knew how to make a person feel like a king and then .. suddenly throw him down into the deep abyss of sub-human existence.They knew how to manipulate the seas and the people.What do I say about the style of Amitav Ghosh. That is smooth and fine as sweet wine? That there is never an extra word, nor a word less? That he uses the language with the finesse of a master? That he is a devious devilish craftsman who can make us see what he sees?The book - unputdownable. The next in the series - eagerly awaited.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    I can't decide whether to give this three stars or four. The characters fascinate me, and the author's succeeded in making me care what happens to them. However, all the nautical talk gets boring. There's having some authentic nautical jargon for accuracy and then there's pages and pages of descriptions of chores on a ship that don't drive the plot anywhere. Perhaps that interests some people, but I'm more interested in what happens to the characters than ship's business. I look forward to reading the next installment when, I hope, they'll have arrived at their destination and ditched the ship.
  • Рейтинг: 1 из 5 звезд
    1/5
    Abandoned.I started to read this three years ago and it has loitered on my unfinished books pile ever since. I managed about half, as the readable chapters were quite enjoyable, but then I'd hit the chapters full of local jargon and have absolutely no idea what was being said. Having lived in Dubai for many years I'd assumed I'd be able to untangle a lot of the Indian colloquialisms, but I was wrong - whole chapters were completely indecipherable. Hitting these chapters was like trying to drive into sand and eventually I admitted defeat.Regretfully, I have given away the rest of the trilogy.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    I didn't really get into this book as much as I expected. For one thing, much of it is written in the vernacular, which I found difficult to read and therefore harder to engage with. After finished it, it did not feel especially memorable. However, it did end with the sense that there is more story to come - I believe a sequel is on the way and I may well read it.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5
    This is my third reading of this novel. I read it over every time the next in the trilogy comes out. I absolutely LOVE this novel. The language is so complex, richly layered, and dizzyingly delightful; sometimes shockingly coarse and sometimes hauntingly poetic. You'll get nuanced tastes of Canton, Calcutta, England, America, a dash of Persian and French. This book has everything! pirates, feminism, botany, opium eaters, romance, brutality, high-seas adventure, religious hypocrisy, devoted parents, orphans, shockingly bigoted British exceptionalism/imperialism, heartwarming friendships, homosexuality/forbidden relationships, transgender transformation, the most dastardly villains and the most endearing good-hearted people. Definitely on my list of favorite novels of all time for all time.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5
    This book started slowly, but then really engaged me. The dialogue, with all of its archaic English and Indian vocabulary was difficult at first, but gradually I realised it added a certain flavour to the story. This was a real yarn, and I very much look forward to the second novel in the trilogy.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    This historic novel is about the lives of several people from all over the world whose destiny brings them together on the sailing ship, The Ibis. The story is set in the 1800's in India under British rule. Opium, grown in India, is being traded to China, not only to give British access to Chinese silks and spices, but also to create a drug dependency that forces the Chinese rulers to become puppets of the British Empire. This epic story covers such a motley group of people including a poor widow who barely scrapes out a living growing opium, a freed American mulatto who moves up the social ladder as a 2nd mate on The Ibis, and even a wealthy Zamindar who loses his entire family fortune through trickery in the British colonial courts. This bizarre group of characters finally all end up on The Ibis, set to sail from India to China.

    I loved this book! Not only was this a beautiful story with a rich cast of characters, it described a part of history that was relatively unknown by me. I recently listened to The Wisdom of History lectures that talk about various World Empires and compared the cruel and corrupt Ottomans to the upright and noble British. Well, this was definitely not a proud moment in the history of the British Empire. I could listen to books like this all day... and here is the bad news. The Sea of Poppies is the 1st of a trilogy... and the other 2 books have not even been started. But for people who love epic novels like Pillars of the Earth, then this is a good choice. The narrator for this book is Phil Gigante who does an excellent job portraying the diverse cast of characters. But, for the non conversation parts of his book, I found his voice to be a little too bright or chirpy. Not quite sure why this bugged me but it didn't seem like the right match for a story of such epic scale. I will definitely listen to the rest of this series ...when it is written.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    This rollicking adventure story about colonial India was beaten to the 2008 Booker Prize by The White Tiger, a novel that trades on its gritty realism but which is actually just as much a fantasy of Indian life as this one. On the face of it, Sea of Poppies seems the more enjoyable. It has a huge, Dickensian cast that includes a fallen Rajah, a Chinese opium addict, a European girl gone native, a cross-dressing reincarnated saint, an American freedman and a poppy-farmer's widow, and its plot takes in dramatic rescues, nefarious Brits, girls-dressed-as-boys, floggings and secret assignations and portentous items of jewelry. Yet somehow there seems to be little going on under the surface – it's thematically a bit hollow and I kept feeling that I should be liking it more than I was.At first glance, it's the sort of writing that should really appeal to me, because Ghosh's entry into this world and to these characters is all linguistic. Every character has their own ludicrous demotic, with our American second mate exclaiming, ‘Grease-us twice! What the hell you pesticatin me for,’ while Paulette, a young Frenchwoman, speaks in an entertaining but completely implausible Franglais – ‘you are just pleasanting me’, ‘he was quite bouleversed!’ The main narrative voice, meanwhile, is a hallucinogenic Anglo-Indian farrago that has been turned up to eleven, like Hobson-Jobson in an opium dream – the density of the following paragraph is not untypical:In this floating bazar there was everything a ship or a lascar might need: canvas by the gudge, spare jugboolaks and zambooras, coils of istingis and rup-yan, stacks of seetulpatty mats, tobacco by the batti, rolls of neem-twigs for the teeth, martabans of isabgol for constipation, and jars of columbo-root for dysentery: one ungainly gordower even had a choola going with a halwai frying up fresh jalebis.I have a high tolerance for (indeed love of) opaque vocabulary, but even I found it wearing here – the effect is too extreme to come across as anything but parodic. Tellingly, Ghosh reserves a special thank-you in his afterword for the ‘dictionarists’ whose work he so assiduously plundered – not just Hobson-Jobson, but also a variety of colonial-era slang-lists and glossaries, like A Laskari Dictionary or Anglo-Indian Vocabulary of Nautical Terms and Phrases in English and Hindustani. It's hard not to wish he'd been a smidgen more sparing in how he used this research.Though I found it strangely unsatisfying, there is a lot to like here, really – lush, gothic descriptions of an opium factory, a British jail, the hold of a slaving vessel are all well worth the cover price, and the characters are so bizarre that they rarely struggle to hold your interest. I had a lot of fun, but I don't feel in a mad rush to read the rest of the trilogy.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    For all the hype it has generated, this book was sorely disappointing. It is a very fast read, and a good adventure yarn...and that is all. From a booker prize nominee, I expected something more.

    The characters lack depth. The bad guys are evil, the good guys good. And some, like Nob Kissin Pander, are ludicrous. The story goes at a breakneck pace without stopping for a moment to consider, rather like a well directed bollywood movie (only the songs and dance numbers were missing)! There is a lack of atmosphere. All the while I found myself comparing this novel (to its disadvantage) to Paul Scott's The Raj Quartet, which was poignant in its capture of the dying days of the British Raj.

    And lastly...this is not a novel, but a part of one. The story stops too abruptly.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    This installment was unnecessarily long and too much of a drag; specially right after the Robin character started sending letters. The never ending letters hardly moved the plot ahead and wasted hours of my time. Every time the letters started, I wanted to throw away my phone. Last few chapters had a good build up, but the climax was