Book Club Kit: Sea of Poppies

Sea of PoppiesSea of Poppies
by Amitav Ghosh
First Published: 2008
10 Copies & Reading Guide

At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Her destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China. In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners on board, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers. The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of Canton.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes Brief Intro, Author Information, Reviews, and Discussion Questions

Reviews and Articles:
The New York Times – “A Passage from India” by Gaiutra Bahadur
The Guardian (UK) – “Lascars, Sepoys, and Nautch Girls” by James Buchan
All Things Considered – “A Multilingual Voyage, Buoyed by a Sea of Poppies” by Alan Cheuse
BBC News – “Opium Financed British Rule of IndiaInterview with Amitav Ghosh
BBC News
– “Inside the World’s Largest Opium Factory” by Amarnath Tewary

NPR Book Tour – includes web features and podcasts.
Amitav Ghosh talks about Sea of Poppies

Historical Context:
PBS The Story of India – Website or DVD
The Victorian Web – “England and China: The Opium Wars, 1839-60” by Philip V. Allingham

If you enjoyed Sea of Poppies, you might like:
The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Life of Pi  by Yann Martel
Cutting for Stone (Book Club Kit) by Abraham Verghese

Have you read Sea of Poppies? Tell us what you thought by leaving a comment below or joining us over at Goodreads.

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