Free Press Journal

Challenge lies in conveying clearly to reader: Amitav Ghosh


Kolkata: A reader’s perception of a text depends a lot on how the author makes his intention come across to him, and therefore the challenge for the writer lies in ensuring what he wants to convey reaches the reader clearly, says litterateur Amitav Ghosh.

Participating in an interaction here, Ghosh acknowledged that once released, people all over the world read a text differently, based on how they understand it.

“The challenge for any author lies in ensuring that what he intends to say comes across clearly to his readers,” said Ghosh at the bookstore Starmark.

“Once a book is out in the public domain, it’s out of your hand. It’s now for the public. As a writer, you will have to work your intention into the text in such a way that it will survive the reading,” he said in between signing copies of his latest novel “Flood of Fire”, the final volume of The Ibis trilogy.

The first two offerings were Sea of Poppies (2008) and River of Smoke (2011).

The 48-year-old author iterated the strong connection all three books in the trilogy have with Kolkata while referring to the city by its former name.

“The book is structured around the events of the Opium war, a war that was launched from Calcutta. Calcutta was the nerve centre of the Opium war. It was here where the fleet assembled and sailed to China. Most of the planning was done here and many of the soldiers in fact were from the Bengal infantry. So, I think this is a book that has a very strong connection with Calcutta.”

Having stalled everything else in course of completing the trilogy, Ghosh said he now has a lot of unfinished work on his platter. Asked about his upcoming work, the author laughed and said: “My next books will be much shorter.”

Ghosh made his debut as a novelist in 1986 with The Circle of Reason. His other popular books include The Shadow Lines (1988), The Calcutta Chromosome (1995), The Glass Palace (2000) and The Hungry Tide (2004).