Dancing in Cambodia and other essays

Published By: Penguin
Author: Amitav Ghosh
Year of Publication: 2008

Amitav Ghosh as a writer needs no introduction when it comes to his writing and specifically writing coming out of his personal experience.

This particular book is a travelogue and is a pure non-fiction. A series of essays with captivating titles and even more astounding narratives will leave you flabbergasted. It’s not a book of touristy stuff but of such time zones, people and places which are key in their respective domains and to be able to reach them is a sense of achievement in itself.

Ghosh has a key trope of looking in past through a past and trying to relate it with the present he is in. Memories and photographs never leave his pen or his panorama of thoughts.

The book lets you travel through different parts of Asia which Ghosh has visited and reflects his close associations with the government officials or people in position of power who were able to give him access to such areas which were in an alarming state when he visited.

The titles which touched me were ‘Stories in Stone’, ‘ The Town by the Sea’ and ‘September 11’. This book might give you a sweet smile, but there are more undertones of loss of love and pain of never being able to go back.

“There are times when words seem futile, and to no one more so than a writer. At these moments it seems that nothing is of value other than to act and to intervene in the course of events. To think, to reflect, to write, seems trivial and wasteful. But the life of the mind takes many forms …” 
                                                        – Amitav Ghosh