In this extraordinary novel, Amitav Ghosh navigates through time and genres to present a unique tale. Beginning at an unspecified time in the future and ranging back to the late nineteenth century, the reader follows the adventures of the enigmatic L. Murugan. An authority on the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Sir Ronald Ross, who solved the ...
In this extraordinary novel, Amitav Ghosh navigates through time and genres to present a unique tale. Beginning at an unspecified time in the future and ranging back to the late nineteenth century, the reader follows the adventures of the enigmatic L. Murugan. An authority on the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Sir Ronald Ross, who solved the malaria puzzle in Calcutta in 1898, Murugan is in search of the elusive 'Calcutta Chromosome'. With its astonishing range of characters, advanced computer science, religious cults and wonderful portraits of Victorian and contemporary India, The Calcutta Chromosome expands the scope of the novel as we know it, as Amitav Ghosh takes on the avatar of a science thriller writer.
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Octavo, boards. First British edition. The author's fourth novel, published earlier the same year in New Delhi by Ravi Dayal Publisher. Winner of the 1997 Arthur C. Clarke Award. Anatomy of Wonder (2004) II-435. A fine copy in fine dust jacket. (#93791)
Publishers Weekly, 1997-08-11 Antar, the Egyptian-American hero of this richly plotted literary thriller, is a peon in a huge corporation in near-future New York. His job is to monitor his powerful computer as it sorts through the inventory of a worldwide archive of mundane objects; at the same time, the machine monitors him to make sure he devotes his full attention to its mindless, mysterious task. The terminal stalls when it comes across a damaged ID card, which on further investigation turns out to have belonged to Murugan, an acquaintance of Antar's who disappeared years ago in Calcutta. As the novel moves into the past, the reader learns that Murugan went to India to research a "secret history" behind the real-life, turn-of-the-century discovery of malaria's mode of transmission through mosquitoes. The path that led 1902 Nobel laureate Ronald Ross to his discovery was indirect, and Murugan is nearly positive that the English scientist was merely a patsy, a pawn in someone else's grand plan. If this sounds complicated, it is. Ghosh's novel keeps doubling back on itself, shifting from future to past, New York to Calcutta. Though the mystery at the heart of the book is sometimes hard to fathom, that hardly matters. The evocations of place and character are so eloquent that the reader is able to forgive (continually, necessarily) all nagging, basic confusions about the plot. Murugan is the real gem here; as he explains his theories about Ross to Antar, it's hard to determine whether he's crazy or brilliant or both. Like Pynchon, Ghosh (The Circle of Reason; The Shadow Lines) creates a world in which conspiracies, big conspiracies, lurk everywhereæand the people who stagger into the complex plot known as History are inevitably swallowed whole. Author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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