The Opium Clerk by Kunal Basu

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Hiran is born in 1857—the year of the Mutiny and the year his father dies. Brought to Calcutta by his widowed mother, he has few talents apart from an uncanny ability to read a man’s lies in his palm. When luck gets him a job at an auction house, Hiran finds himself embroiled in a mysterious trade and in the affairs of his nefarious superior, Mr. Jonathan Crabbe, and his opium-addicted wife.

About Kunal Basu

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Kunal Basu was born in Calcutta but has spent much of his adult life in Canada and the USA. He currently teaches at Oxford and McGill universities.
Published January 1, 2001 by Penguin.
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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The dynamic of Western exploitation and manipulation of Eastern resources—and a consequent refusal to shoulder responsibilities thereby incurred—is thus echoed in global and personal relations alike, as the British attempt a dignified retreat from the mess they’ve made, the Crabbes abandon their ...

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India Today

When he first appears before his fellow clerks, a David Copperfield in an ill-fitting jacket and serge trousers with a dot of sandalwood paste on his forehead stamped by his distraught mother, stricken by the thought that her delicate child must now become a clerk and not a Brahmin priest, the cl...

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