Prufrock's Page

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Affected by The Tide

Amitav Ghosh's The Hungry Tide was published in the United States last week. Sandip Roy stops just short of raving about it: "For a writer to describe, but not name, is an act of remarkable discipline. Whether he is writing about the teak forests of Burma or the deserts of Egypt, as a storyteller, Amitav Ghosh is masterful. But when he is in his own Bengali milieu, as with his previous novel, The Shadow Lines, he is just effortless....The Hungry Tide may not have the grand historical sweep of Ghosh's The Glass Palace or the imaginative splicing of history and science in his The Calcutta Chromosome, but in some ways it's a more straightforward novel of fish and tigers, of a perfect storm and murky backwaters."

Elsewhere, however, others are hot and bothered with The Glass Palace because of its treatment of colonialism: "...we weren't defending colonialism, just talking about his writing skills, but all hell broke loose. The Indian and Pakistani members were terribly upset."

N.B. One can't help adding that the same article quotes "a harsh little ditty" written by by Noel Coward in the 1930s for the wife of the then governor of Singapore, who campaigned to make bars and clubs close by midnight:

Oh, Lady Clementi, you've read a lot of G.A. Henty.
You've not read Bertrand Russell and you've not read Dr. Freud
.
Which perhaps is the reason you look so unenjoyed.
You're anti-sex in every form, or so I've heard it said,
You're just the sort who would prefer a cup of tea instead.
You must have been a riot in the matrimonial bed.
Whoops - Lady Clementi.

Perhaps fortunately for Mr Coward, the lady's reactions to the above are unrecorded.


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