French revolutionary's belief in the virtue of Terror. In An Antique Land, Ghosh's wonderful, genre-confounding book: memoir, history and travelogue written up with a novelist's sense of scene and animation. The title piece of this collection is a fine example of his method. The piece on Cambodia that this book does include, "The Global Reservation" offers a provocative explanation of the nature and function of international peacekeeping. The Imam and the Indian: Prose Pieces, Amitav Ghosh, Ravi Dayal Publisher and Permanent Black,.361,. It is no longer fit to be the bearer of our teleologies, it can no longer conquer the "unhistorical power of time".
For the most part Ghosh documents these connections neutrally, but lest they be missed, he does comment at one point that coups usually begin in the courtyards of the palace. The argument degenerates into a chauvinist exchange where each argues his country's cause by invoking its ownership of western armament. Writing about the profound impact that the massacre had on his second novel, The Shadow Lines, Ghosh asks why, in the 1980s, did history seem to stumble and come to a standstill? Maulana Azad's father, for example, moved from a life in Mecca to one in the Nakhuda Mosque in Kolkata without feeling displaced. King Sisowath and Pol Pot may seem polar opposites, but with their common experience of palace life and their enthusiasm for certain, albeit different, aspects of French culture, they emerge as curiously twinned. Amitav ghosh'S eighth book, The Imam and the Indian follows upon four novels and three books of non-fiction. Two brilliant yet sombre pieces remember and reflect upon pogrom and terror in south Asia. Orhan Pamuk, a State of Freedom, neel Mukherjee, the Small-Town Sea. His consideration of this issue revisits the central motif of The Shadow Lines and he once again comments on the arbitrariness of borders drawn by colonial officials and the inevitable artificiality of nations. I know of no other Indian writer who has so consistently looked to his neighbours the better to understand himself.
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