HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

In An Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh
Loading...

In An Antique Land (1992)

by Amitav Ghosh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6461214,945 (3.81)48
  1. 00
    The City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish by Peter Parsons (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Both these books deal, in part, with the view of daily life which was revealed to historians by the unexpected survival of waste paper (old shopping lists, letters, and other detritus of daily life) in the dry Egyptian air.
  2. 00
    ALLAKAZZAM! by Daniel Abelman (bintarab)
    bintarab: Like Ghosh's book, Abelman's work involves Jewish culture in diaspora not as a treatise on the subject, but with the understanding that the characters' lives are profoundly affected by life experiences that transcend borders.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 48 mentions

English (11)  Italian (1)  All (12)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
A lovely parallel account of the author's time as an anthropology student in a small village in Egypt, and his research into the life of a Jewish slave mentioned in some medieval documents found in a cache in Cairo. The story of how the research came into being is fascinating in itself -- his description of the cache of documents in the Cairo Ganizeh would have been enough to keep my interest, but his account of living in the farming village was equally charming -- especially his inability to explain the religious traditions of Hindus to the Muslims he was living among. He is not Hindu himself, but everyone assumes that he is, and thus that he worships cows, and burns the dead -- two things that are blasphemous to a Muslim. Ghosh comments at one point that he didn't know an Arabic word for "cremated" and thus, when describing Hindu religious traditions, was forced to use the word "burned" -- the same word Muslims used to describe the fate of sinners destined for hell.

There is little to no sense of Western superiority in the story, but there are a fair number of eye-opening observations on the politics of the Middle East as it is experienced by your average village farmer looking for a better life.This is in the early eighties, so a generation or so after the Egyptian revolution of Nasser in 1952, when serfs were freed and allotted their own land. Now the economy is in upheaval, the promise of the revolution has either been realized, if you were lucky, or dissipated if you weren't. There is an exodus to find work "outside" -- in Iran, mostly, which was at war and needed labor -- and a need for hard currency.

All in all a wise and touching account of a small village in the midst of economic upheaval and modernization, and at the same time a rather brilliant historical investigation into the life of a man known only via a few mentions in letters between 12th century merchants trying to do business across uncertain trade routes.
1 vote southernbooklady | May 5, 2017 |
Interesting memoir of the author's time spent in Egypt and the people he met there, interspersed with the story of a 12th century Indian trader, the subject of the research that took Ghosh there originally as a student. A bit awkward at times, as the two stories didn't mesh for me as well as the blurbs and reviews suggest. Some of the transitions were pretty blunt. Overall, an informative and relatively engaging read. I gave it 3 1/2 stars.

Review written in August, 2011 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Dec 22, 2014 |
An Indian writer, navigating between anthropological studies in Egypt and modern life in India, reflects on the changes in modern Egypt and its rich history as part of a wider eastern culture. He takes us navigating across Europe, the middle East and India with a mediaeval jewish trading elite, showing us the alternative civilisations that existed before Western Europe's colonising endeavours. His Egyptians live in a world that's deeply and passionately embedded in its history, and striding cautiously into a different future. And at the same time we navigate through the world of academia, deciphering randomly preserved mysteries and walking through forgotten lives set out in nefariously harvested manuscripts. Fascinating, informative, thought provoking
  otterley | Mar 26, 2014 |
This was an interesting and well-written part memoir, part exploration into history through manuscripts. I enjoyed reading about Ghosh's experiences in a land foreign to him (Egypt) as well as he investigations into the story of a Jewish merchant from the 12th century. ( )
  sbsolter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Ghosh, a then-young Indian living in Egypt while conducting research on the Indian slave of a Jewish master, interweaves the story of his own experiences with those of the slave that can be known or inferred, placing both in historical and cultural context. Because some of his experiences parallel his subject's, particularly cultural isolation, Ghosh is able to convey the poignancy, and sometimes disgust, of being a stranger in a strange land. Though the blending of the two stories doesn't quite jell, it's still a very interesting and moving memoir. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ghosh, Amitavprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Müller, MatthiasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nadotti, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Debby
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679727833, Paperback)

In an Antique Land is a subversive history in the guise of a traveller's tale. When the author stumbles across a slave narrative in the margins of an ancient text, his curiosity is piqued. What follows is a ten year search, which brings author and slave together across 800 hundred years of colonial history. Bursting with anecdote and exuberant detail, it offers a magical, intimate biography of the private life of a country, Egypt, from the Crusades to Operation Desert Storm.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:22 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The author recounts his ten-year investigation into the life a twelfth-century Indian slave who lived in a remote corner of Egypt.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
36 wanted
2 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.81)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 8
2.5 2
3 14
3.5 9
4 43
4.5 3
5 20

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 114,474,225 books! | Top bar: Always visible