“What is behind the word?” A conversation with Amitav Ghosh, and his translators


  • Ilaria Rigoli University of Verona




Amitav Ghosh, interview


In April 2013, Amitav Ghosh was in Venice for some weeks to attend the Incroci di Culture festival and to continue writing his new novel, the third part of his announced Ibis trilogy. After a public meeting with the writer, his translator Anna Nadotti and Pia Masiero of the University of Venice, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Ghosh about his latest books, Sea of Poppies and River of Smoke. For a lucky coincidence, at the very end of the interview Ghosh's translators Anna Nadotti and Norman Gobetti joined us and I could also have a brief conversation with the three of them. The interview was especially concerned with the topics of history and language, two of Ghosh's main literary interests. Some of Nadotti and Gobetti's comments on the difficulties of translating Ghosh's books helped clarify Ghosh's attitude towards the concept of “multifacity”. This seems to be one of the central points of both his literary style and his approach to history-writing, which is the matter of these two books about the Indian Ocean in the 19th century, but also one of the main topics of Indian literature in English in the last decades.