The Hungry Tide by Amitava Ghosh

The Hungry tide by Amitava Ghosh is one of its kind book .

With his beautifully evocative writing , the author manages to transport us wholly to the Sunderbans ..The Sunderbans with its mysterious islands , its unpredictable storms and cyclones ,with its plethora of flora and fauna ….The landscape is of a supreme importance in this novel as is suggested by its title “The Hungry Tide” . This coastal region of East India is always vulnerable to destruction by way of seasonal storms ,cyclones ,winds and floods . The geographic placement is such that this is always a zone of turbulence ..Otherwise also death is never far away …Camouflaged as a tiger stalking its prey ,or a crocodile waiting to pull you down to the depths of the murky waters …Death is always lurking in the shadows ..

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The 3 main characters in the book are Piya ( an American  Marine biologist from Seattle who was born to Bengali parents),Kania ( a Bengali interpreter who is returning to his native place) and Fokir ( who is a local fisherman and acts as a guide to Piya).

Now ,that I live only a couple of hours away from the Sunderbans ,I know that the lives of these people are very hard . Mostly dependent on land their lives are vulnerable to vagaries of nature . But they have also accepted this as a part of their lives and would be loathe to call any other place home . With development and urbanisation ,the lives of man and animal are increasingly entangled in a struggle that ends badly for one of them . The boundaries are blurring and humans are more and more trespassing into their territory .

Characters are layered and well developed . Ghosh’s writing is fluid  and the narrative is gripping . However ,there are some parts that are straight out of an action movie sequence ,but I choose to overlook those in favour of the rest . Overall a good read …

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