I've been reading the Hungry tide by Amitav ghosh for about a week now. And I can really feel Im floating down the river in the Sunderbans whenever I pick up the book.
At first the feeling that flooded me was how can this guy know what is going on in the minds of fisherfolk, simple folk who are a class apart from him obviously? He is into this life which must be removed from his in Calcutta. So much of research about dolphins, the ecology of the Sunderbans, history and so many little nuggets of information has been woven into the story.
Few characters but they are so real with their inner lives and strengths. Each one of them is strong from somewhere inside. And the poetry within too. Besides Rilke’s which he has interspersed.
The life on the boats itself is so amazing. Here we are safe in our cocoons thinking about our comfort 95% of the time- good food, good roads, cars, shelter, cleanliness, better furnishings. And here is a bunch of people on a little boat, with primitive food and toilet and sun in their eyes and infinite patience in their hearts.
Priorities are so different.
Amitav’s regard for people itself is amazing. There is hardly any physical description of people anywhere in the book while there are many of the waters and the land. When he describes the thoughts of people, they are on a different plane hard to outline. Its like a leap in thought.
A book to be savored and read slowly.