Sea of Poppies ranks higher on Amazon than any 2008 Man Booker Prize finalist except the winner, The White Tiger. Why didn’t that award go to its author, Amitav Ghosh, an Indian-Begali resident of New York? A review in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal argues that the book has serious defects:
“Sea of Poppies means to explore grand themes — colonialism, commerce and caste among them. But the novel falls short of the praise heaped on it, weighted down by the burden of Mr. Ghosh’s sermonizing.”
Reviewer Abheek Bhattacharya adds that the novel “is roped with enough storylines to rig a four-masted schooler and populated by so many characters that you need a manifest” to keep track of them:
“Mr. Ghosh has said that this novel is just the first in a trilogy on the British Opium Wars. Perhaps by the trilogy’s end the tale will assume the coherence and fullness that its first installment lacks.”
Read the full review at online.wsj.com/article/SB122429055763246745.html
© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.