Friday, 5 April 2013

Bookworm: The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh

The Glass Palace is the third and final book given to me by an Indian colleague, a fellow book lover.

I've actually sent her some books now too and can't wait to hear what she thinks of them (Gone Girl, Life of Pi and Room).

Recently she told me this final book is actually one of her favourite books. This made me even more interested to read it and see if I felt the same.

Quite a chunky book, I did feel a little daunted when I saw this 547 page offering and its small writing (yes I do realise I sound like a child commenting on the text size!)

I was also hesitant when I saw the book covered history. I'm not the biggest fan of war or history books. That is unless they are written in a certain way - such as the series written by Victoria Hislop.

Although I had a slow start with the story, I soon found myself getting lost in the magical descriptions, characters and events.

Ghosh has a great way with words. Whether I was reading in my flat, in a bustling coffee shop on my break or on a busy train, I felt in another world when reading this story - true escapism.

The smells, sounds and scenes filled my head as I read my way through the different historical settings.

Yes there are numerous characters in this book and at times you have to remind yourself who is who. However, the way the story spans three generations and three locations you really feel like you've lived alongside the characters and experienced their journeys through life.

As a reader, although reading a fictional tale you feel you're getting an education into the history of these areas and the war and fighting involved.

Yes there are lots of details of war and historical information, but Ghosh covers it in a captivating way. It forms part of the main characters' stories and builds on their tale, rather than listing facts and times from history.

Good points
Learn about different locations, ways of life and times in history
Strong characters
Vivid descriptions
A rollercoaster of emotions

Not so great
Perhaps too many characters
Quite heavygoing at times, towards the end quite a depressing read

So yet again another enjoyable reading experience thanks to a heartfelt gift. No it's not my favourite ever book and there were times I got a bit fed up with the war talk and lost track of characters, but overall the book left me thinking about life's journey, the importance of family, ambition and love.

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