Read The World — The Glass Palace — Amitav Ghosh — Myanmar — Burma
Blub from goodreads.com, please scroll down for my review.
Set in Burma during the British invasion of 1885, this masterly novel by Amitav Ghosh tells the story of Rajkumar, a poor boy lifted on the tides of political and social chaos, who goes on to create an empire in the Burmese teak forest. When soldiers force the royal family out of the Glass Palace and into exile, Rajkumar befriends Dolly, a young woman in the court of the Burmese Queen, whose love will shape his life. He cannot forget her, and years later, as a rich man, he goes in search of her. The struggles that have made Burma, India, and Malaya the places they are today are illuminated in this wonderful novel by the writer Chitra Divakaruni calls “a master storyteller.”
My Review Quote: “In English they use a word-it comes from the Bible-evil. I used to think of it when I talked to those soldiers. What other word could you use to describe their willingness to kill for their masters, to follow any command, no matter what it entailed?”
This book is written from different points of view and also from different countries, not just Burma, as it was known then, starting in 1885 and covers a century of time. Therefore the genre of this novel is historical fiction.
-One point of view, beginning in Burma at the beginning of the British dominance, we follow the story of Rakumar, who I loved. I enjoyed reading about his hardships, childhood and how hard he worked to become successful. A very dedicated man making the most of the situation with the British Invasion.
-Another point of view is where we follow Dolly, who works in the Palace and is exiled along with the royal family to India, where they spend many many years.
-Later on, their children, and their lives and how they intertwine.
The author enjoyed explaining all about logging, which I found interesting, but the car parts, hmm, not so much, for the author was important to mention what make and model the characters were driving, but it didn’t add to the novel.
The war section was interesting, from an Asian point of view, different from what I have read in the past, which was mostly from a Europe point of view.
The parts of the novel, the family saga parts, were interesting, some historical details were very nice, and enjoyable, the romance parts were unnecessary and sometimes drawn out.
The characters traveled extensively throughout the book and you certainly felt this, with lovely details and descriptions.
The author also addresses why the locals, the Burmese, the Indians, and the Malayans are all fighting for the English despite the colonisation of their countries.
I enjoyed the military details on how they lived and interacted with others. I enjoyed the history side of the book, I didn’t connect with the many characters, apart from Rajkumar as a child and young adult. He was my favourite character of the novel. Dinu was a bit of a mystery but also enjoyable.
The final chapters cover a large amount of time very quickly jumping backwards and forwards, it is very fractured and each of the family members are now separated living their separate lives, due to this finish, which I didn’t find I enjoyed, it was wrapped up too fast, but the author clearly displays a huge knowledge for the area and the history so I am giving this book 4 stars.
Originally published at http://readinginecuador.wordpress.com on February 7, 2022.