In the 1980s Amitav Ghosh moved into a converted chicken coop. It was on the roof of a house in Lataifa, a tiny village in Egypt. During the day he pored over medieval letters sent to India from Cairo by Arab merchants. In the evenings he shut out the bellowing of his fat landlord by turning up the volume of his transistor radio and wrote stories ...
In the 1980s Amitav Ghosh moved into a converted chicken coop. It was on the roof of a house in Lataifa, a tiny village in Egypt. During the day he pored over medieval letters sent to India from Cairo by Arab merchants. In the evenings he shut out the bellowing of his fat landlord by turning up the volume of his transistor radio and wrote stories based on what he had seen in the village. The story of Khamees the Rat, the notorious impotent (already twice married); of Zaghloul the weaver determined to travel to India on a donkey; of one-eyed Mohammad, so obsessed with a girl that he spent nights kneeling outside her window to listen to the sound of her breathing; of Amm 'Taha, part-time witch, always ready to cast a spell for a little extra money; and, of course, the story of Amitav Ghosh himself, known in the village as the Indian doctor, the uncircumcised, cow-worshipping kaffir who would not convert to Islam. This book is the story of Amitav Ghosh's decade of intimacy with the village community. Mixing conversation and research, imagination and scholarship, it is also a charged, eccentric history of the special relationship between two countires, Egypt and India, through nearly ten centuries of parochialism and sympathy, bigotry and affection. The author also wrote "The Circle of Reason" and "The Shadow Lines".
Fair. A readable copy only. All pages and the cover are intact, may not include dust jacket. Pages may include considerable notes in pen or have highlighting. Possible ex library copy. May not contain accessories.
Fine. 039458368X Ghosh, Amitav. In an Antique Land. NY: Knopf, 1993. 393pp. 8vo. 1/4 Cloth. Book condition: Near fine, pristine. Dust Jacket Condition: Very good with light bumping to top edge and clipped price.
Publishers Weekly, 1993-02-15 In a leisurely blend of travelogue, history and cross-cultural analysis, Indian writer Ghosh reconstructs a 12th-century master-slave relationship that confounds modern concepts of slavery. Abraham Ben Yiju, a prosperous Tunisian Jewish merchant based in medieval Cairo, resettled in Aden, then spent two decades on India's Malabar Coast, where he hired a slave or servant, probably of Indian origin, named Bomma. Bomma acted as Ben Yiju's business agent and made overseas trips for him. In medieval India and the Middle East, Ghosh points out, servitude was often a career opportunity, the principal means of recruitment into privileged strata of the army and bureaucracy. Researching in letters and documents in Egypt, where he lived for several years, Ghosh ( The Shadow Lines ) evokes a world of mud-walled houses and class warfare between Egyptian laborers and landowners. He also writes vividly of southern India, a tapestry of castes, cults and worship of spirit-deities. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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