(Audio) Fabulous Fiction Firsts #162

Sea of Poppies*, is the first volume of the Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh, one of India's best known writers and was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize.

At the heart of this vibrant 19th century saga is an immense ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean, its purpose to fight China's vicious Opium Wars. Among the crew and cast are a motley array of sailors, stowaways, Indians and Westerners inexplicably connected by family, loyalty, honor, survival, greed, and imperialism. The vast sweep of this historical adventure embraces the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the crowded backstreets of Canton (China). “But it is the panorama of characters, whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself that makes Sea a masterpiece. “ ~Boston Globe

Admittedly a bit daunting for readers unfamiliar with the history, culture, languages of Indian sub-continent but narrator Phil Gigante’s nuanced performance brings the book to life.

* = Starred reviews