Author: Amitav Ghosh
Publisher: Ravi Dayal & Permanent Black
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8175300310
The author of The Shadow Lines has come up with a monumental work of the historical imagination.
The Glass Palace is an epic novel written with unerring skill. It grasps the reach and fall of empires across the twentieth century, even as it maps the geographies of the human heart. Amitav Ghosh, India's most consistently impressive English novelist, has surpassed himself here.
Outside the royal palace at Mandalay, a small Indian boy Rajkumar is helping to run a dhaba. He hears the ominous boom of distant guns; he picks up rumors of a conquering British force; he watches panic furrow they faces of customers . . And sooner than anyone can comprehend, the ancient capital of Burma is in chaos.
The British conquest of Burma unfolds before Rajkumar's petrified eyes. The kind, the queen, and their retinue are exiled to Ratnagiri in western India. With them goes an attendant girl Dolly, whose face haunts Rajkumar for years. Extricating himself from the royal wreckage Rajkumer, a stateless orphan, moves towards a waiting opportunity - teak forests of upper Burma. Here, with the help of an itinerant merchant from Malacca, he makes his fortune. But the vision of Dolly will not let go. And so, after twenty years, he journeys to seek her out.
Through the intertwining stories of Dolly and Rajkumar, the history of the twentieth century is told across three generations, spread over three interlinked parts of the British Empire: Burma, with its conflicting undercurrents of discontent, Malaya, with its vast rubber plantations; and India, amid growing opposition to British rule. With World War II and the terrifying Japanese juggernaut, Rajkumar's universe is once again set adrift. In an ocean of refugees fleeing devastation, his family makes a treacherous 1000-mile trek to India. The door to Burma closes behind them, and the glittering lights of an extraordinary civilization are finally extinguished.