Amitav Ghosh honoured with Jnanpith Award: A look at his best books

Amitav Ghosh, who spent his formative years in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria, is known for creating rich literature out of the blind spots of history.

One of India’s leading contemporary English writers, Amitav Ghosh, has been honoured with 2018’s Jnanpith Award, a literary recognition given to an author for “outstanding contribution towards literature”. The author will receive the award from former Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi at a function in New Delhi today.

The medical thriller navigates through time to begin in the future and follows the protagonist, L. Murugan, who is in search of what he calls the ‘Calcutta Chromosome’. A must-read for those looking for a classic read depicting the amalgamation of the Victorian era and contemporary India.

Available at:
Price: Rs 299 (paperback)

The Hungry Tide (2004)

Set in Sundarbans, this fiction revolves around Piyali Roy, who has Indian parents but an American upbringing, and Kanai Dutt, a businessman from Delhi. Fate makes the two meet in Sunderbans, which in turn threatens the future of this untouched territory where settlers live in fear of drowning tides and man-eating tigers. The Marichjhapi Massacre incident of 1978-79, when West Bengal government forcibly evicted thousands of Bengali refugees who had settled on the island, forms the background for some parts of the novel. It won the 2004 Hutch Crossword Book Award for Fiction.

Available at:
Price: Rs 319 (paperback)

Sea of Poppies (2008)

First in the Ibis trilogy, the book is based on a bunch of sailors, convicts and coolies who are sailing down the Hooghly on their way to Mauritius aboard the Ibis. During their journey, their equations change to that of ‘ship brothers’ as they dream of a future of new lives built on remote islands. The name of the novel stems from the characters who seem as poppy seeds emanating in large numbers from the field to form a sea, where every single seed is uncertain about its future. It was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize.

Available at:
Price: Rs 280 (paperback)

The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016)

Ghosh shares his thoughts about climate change and how future generations might think of the present generation as deranged in the book. As per the book’s blurb, in this non-fiction work, the author ‘examines our inability at the level of literature, history and politics to grasp the scale and violence of climate change’. He shows that the history of the carbon economy is a tangled global story with many contradictory and counter intuitive elements.

Available at:
Price: Rs 218 (paperback)

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