Dec 6, 2012 — To bring the past to life and make it matter, historical fiction must do more than conjure up an exotic backdrop for a conventional story. These six books challenge our preconceptions and help show how the past shaped the world we live in today.
Oct 19, 2011 — In England, where sniping at Booker Prize finalists is a national sport, this year's bickering was especially fierce. But last night's award of the prize to Julian Barnes' absorbing, elegant The Sense of an Ending provided ... just that.
Dec 16, 2010 — Two things are shared in common by the five thrilling books that make up Granta editor John Freeman's list of the best debuts of 2010: A chaos that reflects dark times and an urgency to tell these mysterious stories — from East Africa, South America, Kashmir, New Jersey — with clarity and beauty.
Jul 18, 2010 — In A Full Cup, writer Michael D'Antonio traces Thomas Lipton's rise from the slums of Glasgow, Scotland, to the High Courts of Tea — and how he never forgot where he came from.
Jan 7, 2009 — In Sea of Poppies, a British trading ship carrying an eclectic group of passengers sets sail on the eve of the First Opium War. The novel, the sixth from Amitav Ghosh, was shortlisted for the 2008 Booker Prize.
Nov 12, 2008 — Amitav Ghosh's sprawling historical novel is set on a former slave ship in 1838, and features a wildly diverse cast of characters and fluid, "beautifully made" sentences. Reviewer Alan Cheuse says Sea of Poppies is worth a passage.
Nov 9, 2008 — Amitav Ghosh's epic novel tells the stories of a disparate group of seafarers aboard a former slave ship that has been retrofitted for the opium trade and its human cargo.
Jan 16, 2006 — Alan Cheuse reviews The Western Limit of the World, David Masiel's new novel about the last voyages of a decrepit chemical tanker.
Jan 13, 2005 — Growing up in a racially segregated neighborhood in Cape Town, South Africa, Neal Petersen overcame both physical disability and apartheid to become the first man of African heritage to race solo around the globe in a sailboat. He shares his incredible story with NPR's Tony Cox — a story detailed in his autobiography Journey of a Hope Merchant.