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'“This absorbing collection of essays by the novelist, journalist, and travel writer Ghosh . . . covers some two decades of catastrophe and upheaval, from sectarian violence in his native India during the 1980s through the September 11 attacks. . . . to the recent Indian Ocean tsunami. With an eye for evocative detail, he illuminates the human dramas behind the headlines: the plight of tsunami refugees trying to rebuild their lives and finances after every bank record and piece of ID is lost to the waves; the courage of ordinary Indians protecting their Sikh neighbors from rampaging Hindu mobs. . . . He is equally engaging when he turns from current affairs to literary essays on, say, the international culture of novel reading or the Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali. . . . Written in luminous prose with unusual understanding . . . an insightful look at a chaotic world.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review Praise for Amitav Ghosh “Ghosh is adept at delineating the complicated cross-currents of emerging national independence movements. He is even more impressive at portraying the different ways in which individuals react to the turmoil, hardship, and disorientation wrought by war.” —The Wall Street Journal “A wonderful hybrid of travel writing, reporting, historical analysis, and memoir—in other words, the kind of piece [Ghosh] writes better than almost anyone else.” —The Washington Times'