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The Glass Palace
The Glass Palace
 
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Author : Amitav Ghosh
Publisher : Harper Collins
ISBN# : 9780007427468
Pages : 551
Price :INR 299
Offer Price:INR 266
 
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Book Description

The novel is sweeping in its setting, ranging from Burma to India to Malaya, over a 40–50 year period, as it traces the lives of many people in different sections of the society, and the impact that the changing times has on them.

A young orphaned boy, Rajkumar, from Bengal, ends up in Mandalay, and tries to find work there. He begins to work as an assistant in a food stall run by a woman named Ma Cho. The restaurant is located near the royal palace.

The British invasion of Burma ends the rule of the royalty. The royal family, the king and queen, their four daughters, and all their retinue, are extradited to India. They are settled into a house in Ratnagiri, a small town near Goa, onIndia’s west coast.

When the royal family and their retinue are being evacuated by the British, Rajkumar sees Dolly, one of the attendants of the royal family. 

He immediately falls in love with her. But she is taken away along with the others, and settled in a remote place in India thousands of miles away.

Meanwhile, Rajkumar befriends a Chinese businessman, Saya John, who becomes a father-figure and mentor to him, and they later become business partners. They eventually become rich by trading in teak wood.

Rajkumar is still in love with Dolly, the girl he saw on the day the royal family was taken away. He decides to find her.

The royal family is adjusting to the new life, and its members are well loved by the local people. Rajkumar manages to establish contact with Dolly, and eventually convinces her to come with him to Burma.

They get married and start a new life. Rajkumar and John expand their business to rubber trade, and they grow richer. But then, the Second World War intervenes. It upsets the lives of everyone, from Rajkumar and Dolly, to the royal family in Ratnagiri.

The families and friends get scattered, some are killed, others are separated, and each one tries to find their way back and reclaim their lost lives and relationships.

The book reflects the sweeping changes in the Burmese society, the impact of colonialism, the mark it leaves on the people who were ruled, the changing political scenario in Europe, the colonial powers weakened by the devastating war, and their loosening grip on their colonies.

 
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