November 13th, 2008 | by JOHN MINERVINI News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

TOME RAIDER: Reading Tonight! >> Amitav Ghosh, 7:30pm @ Powell's City of Books

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Each week, WW writer John Minervini brings you the latest in book reviews, author Q&A's and Portland literary gossip. Click here to join the Tome Raider mailing list.


    Postcolonial Powerhouse Prepped to Perform at Powell's


What are you doing tonight at 7:30? Are you free? If so, you should treat yourself to a reading by a true master of fiction and go hear Amitav Ghosh read at Powell's City of Books. (1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651, 7:30 pm. Free.)

For those who don't know, Ghosh is a critically-acclaimed novelist from Calcutta. His best-known work is probably The Glass Palace (2000)—a century-long historical novel spanning the period of time from the fall of the Ava Kingdom in Mandalay through the second World War—but that's hardly his only success. He's also the author of The Hungry Tide (2004) and The Calcutta Chromosome (1995), a contemporary love story and a sci-fi medical thriller, respectively.

Why should you go? Frankly, Portland only rarely sees this kind of international talent come through town. When we do, there's usually a hefty ticket price attached. But tonight, you can hear Ghosh read for absolutely free. So get literate. Get thee to Powell's.

Ghosh is touring in connection with his new novel, Sea of Poppies (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 512 pages, $26.00). It's a historical epic—the first in a trilogy—about the voyage of a two-masted Baltimore schooner, the Ibis, on her passage from Calcutta to Mauritius. It was shortlisted for the 2008 Booker Prize, but don't take their word for it—take mine. It's a conceptually huge novel with a diverse cast of characters, including a mulatto American first mate, a stowaway French girl, an Indian Raja and a Chinese opium-eater. It just might be Moby-Dick for the new millennium.

Stay tuned to Tome Raider in coming weeks for a full review of Sea of Poppies and an exclusive Q&A with Ghosh. In the meantime, though, don't miss that reading.

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