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Amitav Ghosh : Home







In September 1838 a storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and the Ibis , a ship carrying a consignment of convicts and indentured laborers from Calcutta to Mauritius, is caught up in the whirlwind. When the seas settle, five men have disappeared - two lascars, two convicts and one of the passengers. Did the same storm upend the fortunes of those aboard the Anahita , an opium carrier heading towards Canton? And what fate befell those aboard the Redruth , a sturdy two-masted brig heading East out of Cornwall? Was it the storm that altered their course or were the destinies of these passengers at the mercy of even more powerful forces?
On the grand scale of an historical epic, River of Smoke follows its storm-tossed characters to the crowded harbors of China. There, despite efforts of the emperor to stop them, ships from Europe and India exchange their cargoes of opium for boxes tea, silk, porcelain and silver. Among them are Bahram Modi, a wealthy Parsi opium merchant out of Bombay, his estranged half-Chinese son Ah Fatt, the orphaned Paulette and a motley collection of others whose pursuit of romance, riches and a legendary rare flower have thrown together. All struggle to cope with their losses – and for some, unimaginable freedoms – in the alleys and crowded waterways of 19th century Canton. As transporting and mesmerizing as an opiate induced dream, River of Smoke will soon be heralded as a masterpiece of twenty-first century literature.
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ghosh opium storm amitav crowded passengers india poppies canton heading aboard century convicts indian ibis

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crowded passengers india poppies canton heading aboard century convicts indian ibis written oxford institutions taught number waterways magazines shortlisted booker freedoms alleys trilogy bestselling delhi studied twenty-first mesmerizing literature masterpiece heralded induced dream born grew lanka opiate sri 19th transporting bangladesh universities biography incendiary circumstances essays burma cambodia imam dancing interviews pictures contact rights reserved blog awards chrestomathy bibliography anthologies circle unimaginable news events book brooklyn divides goa books hungry antique shadow lines chromosome palace tide glass prize pursuit sturdy two-masted brig redruth befell carrier fate cornwall altered grand scale historical forces powerful destinies mercy anahita fortunes carrying consignment indentured ship ocean september blows laborers mauritius lascars upend disappeared settle caught whirlwind epic storm-tossed fatt orphaned paulette half-chinese estranged merchant bombay motley collection thrown struggle cope flower legendary romance riches parsi wealthy emperor ships europe efforts china characters harbors exchange cargoes bahram modi silver porcelain boxes silk losses

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opium storm

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opium storm century aboard passengers heading canton river convicts smoke crowded

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century aboard passengers heading canton river convicts smoke crowded fatt half-chinese estranged bombay orphaned paulette romance pursuit collection motley merchant parsi boxes cargoes exchange india silk porcelain wealthy modi bahram silver riches legendary induced opiate mesmerizing transporting dream heralded book literature twenty-first masterpiece ghosh 19th cope struggle thrown flower losses unimaginable waterways alleys freedoms europe ships anahita ibis fortunes upend ocean carrier befell fate blows indian ship lascars calcutta laborers indentured carrying mauritius caught disappeared settle whirlwind redruth sturdy storm-tossed september 1838 epic characters amitav emperor efforts china harbors historical scale altered cornwall brig two-masted destinies mercy grand forces powerful consignment