Oh My Ghosh

Pardon the crappy pun! All right. I finally finished my first Amitav Ghosh book. And unsurprisingly, it was a non-fiction. I’ve been subconsciously avoiding fiction of late, and a month or so ago I read a piece on the book by Raghu Karnad in thewire.in arguing how he would love if Amitav Ghosh wrote non-fiction more, even if he likes his novels too. So when I decided to jump on the Amitav Ghosh wagon, I figured it would surely be non-fiction.

I admit upfront this book wasn’t easy to read. At the start at least. I didn’t find a single word in the book that I had to look up in the dictionary, but the sentence structure and choice of phrases were complex. That’s not to say it was a plod. It was actually a very interesting read, not least because of its subject: the oblivion regarding climate change among novelists. Although I’ve read a lot on climate change – novella-length articles, editorials, and so on, I haven’t read such a nuanced piece of writing such as this book.

Amitav Ghosh rebukes authors and literary journals on keeping huge geological events like earthquake to the outside the realm of the, as he puts it, hallowed manor of literary fiction. Instead climatic happenings have been relegated to science fiction and fantasy – genres that are considered plebeian.

The writing is absolutely beautiful. I’m beginning to appreciate so called “poetic” writing as my reading skills develop. The text, which seemed ornamental and pretentious to me at the beginning, flowed smoothly like a river later.



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