Indian Summer

Sea of Poppies BY Amitav Ghosh

Any other year Amitav Ghosh and Aravind Adiga would barely draw comparisons. However, both authors have been running parallel in real life. Adiga won the 2008 Man Booker Prize for his first book “White Tiger” and Ghosh’s “Sea of Poppies” was shortlisted for it, the same year. Ghosh is also famously known for his work in fiction and non-fiction and has won numerous accolades for all. For two books that found themselves on the same list and are penned by Indian authors, the content is vastly different. Ghosh’s book “Sea of Poppies” takes place in a pre-independent India that is in the crossfire of the opium trade (just before the opium wars). Whereas, Adiga’s book is about more present day India where the crevasse between the classes is deepening forever more and exposes the deep underside of a developing (and reflective of many countries as well) nation where corruption and classism runs rampant. However, both Ghosh and Adiga focus on creating story arcs for their characters that help them write about a larger theme. Both authors (atleast in his first book for Adiga) seem to focus on more rural characters that seem to be in a sort of transition. It makes for good reading, especially if you like myself go through phases. Summer time, I somehow end up picking a lot of South Asian writers for reading and this time around, it has been well worth it.


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