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Author: Amitav Ghosh
Publisher: Permanent Black
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8175300582
Over the past two decades or so, Amitav Ghosh has enthralled readers with novels and travelogues that have acquired the status of modern classics: The Shadow Lines, In an Antique Land, The Circle of Reason, The Calcutta Chromosome, and The Glass Palace.
Much less known is the fact that , simultaneously, over all these years, Amitav Ghosh has been writing non-fictional prose - reflective essays, activist pieces, political commentary, book reviews, autobiographical articles, academic expositions, translations from Bengali, and literary anthropology.
Here, for the first time, is as complete a collection as can be made of the prose which reveals that relatively unknown Amitav Ghosh: the novelist as thinker, the man of ideas as a writer of luminous, illuminating non-fiction.
This considerable and distinguished body of writing has appeared sporadically and been scattered within periodicals and magazines, learned journals and academic books. It has never been available as a single body of ideas, as the large and singular bedrock upon which Amitav Ghosh's fictional imagination has drawn. Readers of these wonderful essays will discover that - to quote the novelist himself - 'despite the difference in form and diction, they share with my fiction certain characteristic subjects and concerns.'
Ghosh's concerns here, as in his novels, are with exploring the connection between past and present, between events and memories, and between people, cultures and countries that have shared a past. India and Egypt, Islam and Hinduism, the Mughal Emperor Babur and the would-be impress Indira Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore's Bengal and Agha Shahid Ali's Kashmir, the novel and history, fundamentalism and cosmopolitanism, migration and diaspora - all these themes come alive in the essays of one of the most lucid and captivating writers of modern times.
1 The Imam and the Indian
2 Tibetan Dinner
3 Four Corners
4 An Egyptian in Baghdad
5 The Ghosts of Mrs. Gandhi
6 The Human Comedy in Cairo
7 Petrofiction: The Oil Encounter and the Novel
8 Empire and Soul: A review of the Baburnama
9 The Relations of Envy in an Egyptian Village
10 Categories of Labor and the Orientation of the Fellah Economy
11 The Slave of MS. H.6
12 The Dispread in Indian Culture
13 The Global Reservation: Notes toward an Ethnography of International Peacekeeping
14 The Fundamentalist Challenge
15 The March of the Novel through History: The Testimony of my Grandfather's Bookcase
16 The Greatest Sorrow: Times of Joy Recalled in Wretchedness
17 The Hunger of Stones
18 The Ghat of the Only World: Agha Shahid Ali in Brooklyn