The Glass Palace Book Discussion

 

Book: The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh

Month: December 2018

Restaurant: Inchin’s Bamboo Garden

Book Synopsis:

“Set in Burma during the British invasion of 1885, this masterly novel by Amitav Ghosh tells the story of Rajkumar, a poor boy lifted on the tides of political and social chaos, who goes on to create an empire in the Burmese teak forest. When soldiers force the royal family out of the Glass Palace and into exile, Rajkumar befriends Dolly, a young woman in the court of the Burmese Queen, whose love will shape his life. He cannot forget her, and years later, as a rich man, he goes in search of her. The struggles that have made Burma, India, and Malaya the places they are today are illuminated in this wonderful novel by the writer Chitra Divakaruni calls “a master storyteller.””

Book Discussion:

Well, what to say? First let’s start with my initial thoughts and that begins with a few fun facts:

  1. I restarted this book 3 times…. that’s right… THREE times. I would start the book, then put it down. When I picked the book up to continue; I had to restart because I was a bit confused on where I was in the story.
  2. I still haven’t finish the book.

Now for my thoughts. I am not far into the book, (I seriously just reached into my purse and pulled the damn thing out) I am on page 95; 95 out of 470. Ugh. The story feels disjointed. I can’t place my finger on the exact cause of this feeling. After discussing the book last night (We met on Tuesday instead of Thursday due to scheduling conflicts), I think I figured out at least one reason. This book is classified as Historical Fiction, which is a genre I LOVE, however the book does fall on the more historical side of the genre. Which isn’t a problem. The problem, for me, is not understanding why the author choose some topics to go into GREAT detail about and not others, often time just dropping a topic. The greatest example is his long, detailed description regarding Anthrax and the elephants. If you want to lose your appetite then read pages 79-82. Why so much detail was given on the pustules on the rear of an elephant that grow to the size of a pineapple and then begin to leak a whitish ooze, which in turn, then become Rivulets of blood-streaked puss and not on more details regarding the oo-si in the story or even more history, is beyond me.

The Group Discussion.

Here are the details around Dine & Opine’s meeting.

  • We officially have a new rule (now we really don’t – but kind of do- have rules so we like to poke fun at ourselves) Rule 500 sub paragraph a under book discussions: Discussion questions must be under 3 sentences long. A half page question will, from this point forward, be skipped. (After food and wine; our attention spans are not that long)
  • This book was not a hard read. However, if you choose to read this story- please note that the characters are not developed enough.
  • Again- this book falls heavily on the Historical part of the Historical Fiction genre.
  • This story is for those who want to know history that learn better through Visual Literature.

 

As always we concluded our meeting with Book Picks! This month it was Jennifer’s turn to bring the picks. The picks were as follows:

  • Insurrecto
  • America is not the Heart
  • In the Country: Stories

The winner (most votes) is America is not the Heart. We hope you read along!

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