The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh

The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh

Thank God for Bookmarks. I started Amitav Ghosh’s novel, The Glass Palace in the month of January 2013 simultaneously with The King in Exile by Sudha Shah, thinking that this would be a good way to go into the details of the King Thebaw’s life. So when the King’s family reached Ratnagiri, I kept the other book thinking that I would go back to it once the story progresses beyond Ratnagiri in this book. Then came some books with short stories, and some books which were a part of the trilogy, and I kept the bookmark on page 166 of The Glass Palace thinking that I would take up the book once I can finish off a few of those books, flick through the previous pages and take up where I left off, but I was mistaken.

As soon as I picked the book up from the book shelf the story came back as if it was only the previous night that I had kept the book and was picking it up again to resume reading. I think that is what Amitav Ghosh’s characters do to you, they become a part of your existence and you can relate to them.

Rajkumar is an Indian orphan boy who sees a young girl, Dolly, who works for the Queen of Burma when the entire family is exiled to Ratnagiri in India. Rajkumar is hard working and manages to build a business in the teak trade with the help of Saya John. He then goes to India and proposes marriage to Dolly through Uma Dey, the wife of the District Collector of Ratnagiri.

Initially, I felt that this book would revolve around the Burmese King, but then I felt no, the hero is Rajkumar, the book has been written through his eyes. But then I realized no, it is Dolly and their family. Then the story becomes a family saga revolving around Rajkumar, Saya John’s son, Uma and their families. There is adventure and travel (he takes you around the globe to Burma, India, Malaysia, Singapore).

Book Source: Bought
Publisher: Harper Collins

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