The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh is an example as well as a testimony to the worthy modern Indian English literature other than the usual jargon which has been being produced by most of the authors practising the art of fiction writing. This book came across when I was pursuing my PG in English Literature and reading it because of the academic compulsion wasn’t a good opportunity. Therefore, I decided to read the novel once again and I have finished it much recently! In short, what a splendid read it had been! The Hungry Tide doesn’t seem as hungry as is the mouth of us humans which is often ready to devour whatever comes in sight, veg or the non-veg or even the human flesh! Amitav Ghosh has been at his Metaphorical best in this novel…
An amalgam of science, arts, love, hatred, secret, human rights, animal protection and many other things, the novel just becomes almost 100 times larger than the ordinary modern or the contemporary fiction we read these days. Though both the authors, Amitav and Arundhati, are left-leaning and somewhat bizarre in their personal opinions, the fiction that Ghosh Creates is much better than what does Arundhati! Roy’s fictions are nothing different than her agendas but in the case of Ghosh, his fiction is much wider than his political narrowness.
Revolving around the life of Fokir and Piyali, the novel’s narrative sometimes turns towards another character called Kanai too. Kanai, on the other hand, is busy reading and exploring the diary of his uncle who has passed away. There are clearly two plots engaging with the major narrative of the novel – the exploration of Piyali and the exploration of Kanai. They both explore two very much distinct things – love knows no language and power knows no human!
The experience that I drew from the reading of The Hungry Tide was immense and powerful and amazing. A novel and a perfect novel are two different phenomena and the latter one happens very rarely! Yes, the novel does have the instances which might be ambiguous or contradictory to the thoughts of many but that is the author’s personal issue which he or she is entitled to. Happening amidst the tide and ebb of the Bay of Bengal and the Sundarbans area, the events in the novel become very emotionally descriptive at times. Human emotions; love, passion, attachment and true feelings, everything is there in the novel which makes it complete from every side a fiction has.
Amitav Ghosh is certainly the author who should be read widely but unfortunately, what happens is just opposite of what should be happening! And readers have to be told what are the readworthy materials in the market. And I am here to do the same with other writers in the team. And the verdict is clear – in spite of the some of his personal grindings in the novel, The Hungry Tide is a perfect read for the readers belonging to any age group! A complete novel by all the means and I enjoyed a double read which let me explore the other directions other than academic as well.