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I finished reading "The Hungry Tide" some days ago, but somehow I still feel it haunting me. The situations are so well detailed and explained that I feel I have (partly) lived the events described. It is all the more impressive as I did not feel particularly close to the characters. I did not recognize myself in any of them; yet, it did not prevent me from loving it from the first word until the last one.
This book is indeed amazing for many reasons: the author is able to describe everything (characters, places, socio-political context, scientific theories') without being boring a second. With him I actually discovered the sundarbans where the story takes place, understood the love people feel for their motherland and for the sea (the tide country is actually an ensemble of islands). I rediscovered why dolphins are fascinating animals. I thought about wildlife, nature protection, people's dignity with different perspectives.
I first thought Kannai, the Indian educated successful man, and Piya, the American lonely scientist, really were the two main characters and that the other people were evolving between them, either to pull them apart or to link them in some way. But the others are as important as them: Fokir, Nilima and Nirmal, Horen, Moyna' Fokir was of course one of my favorite characters because he was at the same time mysterious, wild, frightening, brave, and honest. He was said to be uneducated because he could not read or write, but he knew better the tide country than any educated scientist like Piya could ever know.
Now speaking about the tide country, Amitav Ghosh really managed to make it alive; I could actually see everything without having been there. It is difficult for me to summarize this book that made me dream, scared me and made me think differently. 'The Hungry Tide' is a story of love (whether felt for a country, family, nature, partner') and hate (towards injustice, wild animals, government'); it is a story of people fighting for life and of people trying to make their lives meaningful. It cannot be described, it has to be read. I recommend it especially for people who are curious and always eager to learn more about new words and new places, and who are fascinated by water (by that I mean sea, rivers..).