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The Glass Palace

(2000)
A novel by

 
The Barnes & Noble Review
When you heave your final sigh and turn the last page of Amitav Ghosh's new novel, The Glass Palace, you feel as if you've travelled for 100 years on foot, through the most distant and lush lands on the globe. The Glass Palace is as close as a person tucked cozily into an armchair on a rainy day can get to the rubber plantations of Malaysia, the teak forests of Burma, and the bustling city streets of Rangoon and Singapore, bearing witness to the demise of the Burmese monarchy and the rise and fall of the British empire.

A stately and vibrantly detailed family saga set in south-central Asia against the tumultuous backdrop of the 20th century, The Glass Palace is the story of Rajkumar, an Indian shop boy orphaned in Mandalay, who, on the eve of the 1885 British invasion, falls in love with Dolly, a beautiful handmaiden to the Queen of Burma. The conquering British send Burma's King Thebaw and his loyal court, including the young handmaiden, into exile in remote India. Rajkumar, left behind in Burma, is adept at working the new colonial system, and he manages to build a thriving lumber business in the growing teak trade.

Elegantly dressed in English clothes, Rajkumar sets off to India to find Dolly, the only woman he has ever loved. The long years in exile have devastated the royal family, leaving Dolly as their only servant. Through the wiles of the colonial administrator's wife, Uma Dey, Rajkumar wins an audience with Dolly and convinces her to return to Burma and marry him. She agrees, and shortly after her departure everything falls apart. The royal family is embroiled in scandal, the administrator commits suicide, and Uma, grieving more over the absence of her dear friend Dolly than over her husband's death, eschews the traditional life of an Indian widow and goes abroad, where she becomes a revered leader of India's burgeoning independence movement. And this is only the beginning. The story of Uma, Dolly, Rajkumar and their children, nieces, and nephews -- and their children's children, nieces, and nephews -- takes us from the rubber boom of the industrial age to the front lines of World War II, from India's struggle for independence to Burma's fall and its transformation into Myanmar under a military dictatorship.

"In the five years it took me to write The Glass Palace," recounts Ghosh, "I read hundreds of books, memoirs, travelogues, gazetteers, articles and notebooks, published and unpublished; I travelled thousands of miles, visiting and re-visiting, so far as possible, all the settings and locations that figure in this novel; I sought out scores of people in India, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand." Inspired by the legends of his own ancestry, Ghosh's massive research makes for a wealth of detail. The Glass Palace is at once a gargantuan history, a family saga, and an adventure story. It is so richly and compassionately rendered you come to feel you are somehow part of its vast extended family whose story finds its humble origins in two orphans standing innocently on the threshold of the 20th century.

Minna Proctor is a writer and translator. She lives in New York.

 
Used availability for Amitav Ghosh's The Glass Palace


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Hardback Editions

June 2008 : USA Hardback
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 0-670-08220-1 / 978-0-670-08220-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Penguin India
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

February 2001 : USA Hardback
Title: The Glass Palace: A Novel
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 0-375-50148-7 / 978-0-375-50148-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Random House
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

July 2000 : UK Hardback
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 0-00-226102-2 / 978-0-00-226102-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

August 2000 : USA Hardback
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 0-670-89659-4 / 978-0-670-89659-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Toronto, ON, Canada: Penguin Group (Canada)
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   

January 2000 : Hardback
Title: Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 8175300310 / 978-8175300316
Publisher: Permanent Black
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

1900 : UK Paperback
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 0-00-742746-8 / 978-0-00-742746-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

January 2006 : Paperback
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 8172234198 / 978-8172234195
Publisher: HarperCollins
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

February 2002 : USA Paperback
Title: The Glass Palace: A Novel
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 0-375-75877-1 / 978-0-375-75877-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

June 2001 : UK Paperback
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 0-00-651409-X / 978-0-00-651409-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: The Borough Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

September 2001 : UK Paperback
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 0-14-029924-6 / 978-0-9651873-7-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   

2000 : UK Paperback
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 0-00-710721-8 / 978-0-00-710721-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Flamingo
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

Audio Editions

March 2015 : USA MP3 CD
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 1-5012-4617-8 / 978-1-5012-4617-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

February 2010 : USA Audio CD
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 1-4418-3489-3 / 978-1-4418-3489-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

February 2010 : USA MP3 CD
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 1-4418-3490-7 / 978-1-4418-3490-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

February 2010 : USA Audio CD
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 1-4418-3488-5 / 978-1-4418-3488-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

February 2010 : USA MP3 CD
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
ISBN: 1-4418-3491-5 / 978-1-4418-3491-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

February 2010 : USA Audio edition
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   

Kindle Editions

April 2016 : UK Kindle edition
Title: The Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
Publisher: The Borough Press
Availability: Amazon UK   

September 2001 : Canada Kindle edition
Title: Glass Palace
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Availability: Amazon CA   

April 2001 : USA Kindle edition
Title: The Glass Palace: A Novel
Author(s): Amitav Ghosh
Publisher: Random House
Availability: Amazon   



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