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The Shadow Lines
Author: Amitav Ghosh

Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 9780143066569
Pages: 274
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The Shadow Lines, an award-winning novel by Amitav Ghosh, weaves an intricate web of timelines, memories, and experiences, scrutinizing the lines that draw people together and keep them apart as well.

Summary Of The Book

The Shadow Lines presents a rich tapestry of plots and characters to trace several decades of events from the perspective of the anonymous narrator of the book. It follows the life of the protagonist and narrator, a young boy hailing from a middle class background, and dissects as many as seventy years of his life, traversing back and forth between the cities of Calcutta, Dhaka, and London.

The author introduces a host of interesting characters, such as the narrator’s knowledgeable uncle, Tridib. He highlights the narrator’s sexual attraction to his cousin, Ila. The bond between the narrator’s family and the London-based Price family is also emphasized. The narrator’s grandmother, Tha’mma, who has emerged from a dreadful past plays a crucial role as the plot progresses.

The narrative is set against the backdrop of several historical events such as the Second World War, the Swadeshi Movement, the Partition of India, and the communal riots that hit Calcutta and Dhaka in 1963-1964. It demonstrates the far reaching impact of political events on private lives.

The plot is built on a multitude of perspectives, demonstrating how the same experience can have innumerable shades based on the diversity of the perspectives involved.

The Shadow Lines was first published in 1988 by Ravi Dayal Publishers. It received high critical acclaim and won the author the Sahitya Akademi award as well as the Ananda Puraskar.This particular edition of the book is a 2009 reprint by Penguin.