Reading Room

Book Review: The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh

While reviewing a book, I generally provide a small excerpt of the book, just enough to spark interest. But in this case, providing anything more than the adjectives that should qualify this book would dilute the thrill and excitement. 

The plot is akin to that of a whirlwind, making it a page turner. The non linear story-line makes it uber interesting. Thus, although a science fiction, it is in reality a thriller that keeps the reader guessing what is going to happen next! You would be literally on the edge! 

The timeline of the plot spans across centuries and you would be following the lives of multiple protagonists playing their part in this grand story, a brilliant cocktail of fact and fiction. You would meet Ronald Ross who won the Nobel Prize in medicine for his work on malaria. You would also get an insight about how scientific theories should be taught – with a generous dose of humour – as Murugan explains them to Antar – a definite high point of the book. And you would find that the characters have their own voices in this well-researched master-piece. 


I had heard of Amitav Ghosh because of his books “Sea of Poppies” and “The Glass Palace”. These are probably his more popular books. But “The Calcutta Chromosome” is the first book that I have read and I am glad that I read it.  The book speaks for itself. You can expect nothing less from a Jnanpith award winner. The Calcutta Chromosome itself won the Arthur C Clarke award in 1997. I cannot recommend it enough.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Buy the book on Amazon: Link

Review by: Joydeep, India

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