The Hungry Tide is a literary fiction written by a contemporary great in Indian English Literature, Amitav Ghosh and the novel was published in the year 2004 when 21st century was still learning how to walk properly and how to talk well. This novel, since its publication, has been near the centre of the academic debates and discussions and also the curriculum designs. The Hungry Tide is liked by the readers who read it and appreciated by the readers who never read it but want to read it. However, by the readers who have read other contemporary novels along with The Hungry Tide, this novel is used as a benchmark to judge Indian English fiction by the writers contemporary in the 21st century. And guess what? You will be surprised to know that the standards of fiction set by Ghosh is never touched by most of the commercial authors today.
This 400-page novel, The Hungry Tide, tells the readers two story – one in the present and another in the past with the help of a diary narrative – Kanai is reading the diary of his uncle. The past takes us back to the years 1978-79 when the brutality of the then Bengal Government took place against the inhabitants of the island Morichjhanpi. The present story deals with the untold love story of Fokir and Piyali, two people separated by class and language but never apart at their souls.The Hungry Tide also focuses on some issues of ecological balance which is the meat for ecocritics who want to extract the scenes when a tiger is burnt alive.
Reading the novel will let you enjoy a treat of poetic language and the style of narrative which is not forceful but never weak enough – it is delicate and persuasive. The plot is clear – a leg on the present and a leg on the past and let us walk. At points, the novel might seem weary because of the minute details which do not involve characters but just the views of the narrator – the novel is narrated in the third person. However, the ending of the novel manages everything and lets the readers feel satisfied.
I won’t claim that the novel is a must-read for all the readers of different tastes. However, the ones who want to enjoy Indian fiction in the English language, the novel is surely for them without a doubt. You can read this novel and find for yourself why Amitav Ghosh enjoys the respect which seldom a contemporary writer writing usual romance can achieve. You can get a copy of his novel from the Amazon link below which will open in a new tab:
review by Abhishek