Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Two UK 1sts by Amitav Ghosh, (Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke)

As Booker longlisted titles trickle in through my mailbox, I thought I'd share a pair novels by the previously shortlisted Amitav Ghosh (whose most recent novel was not longlisted last week, despite all my finger-crossing).

I just finished his novel Sea of Poppies (which was on the 2008 Booker shortlist) and was completely floored. Sea of Poppies is set in India on the cusp of the Opium Wars and follows the journey of the Ibis, an old schooner with its sails set for Mauritius. The novel reads with the adventurous spirit of a classic high seas yarn but maintains the expansive control of a Victorian novel. I highly recommend it!

(Here are the Sea of Poppies endpapers:)

What's most exciting is that Sea of Poppies is the first of a trilogy. The second volume of the Ibis trilogy, River of Smoke, was just published, and I really hope it gets a wide readership despite its omission from the 2011 longlist.

Not only is Ghosh an incredible writer, the UK editions of his books are exceptionally well designed. The endpapers to River of Smoke are above, and the spines of volumes one and two together are below:

I'll be back in a bit with a new post once the handful of longlisted titles I've ordered are in-hand. Stay tuned...

Currently reading:
Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

Currently listening to:
John Maus, "We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourseles"

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