Once upon a time, an Indian writer name Amitav Ghosh set out to find an Indian slave, name unknown, who some 700 years before had traveled to the Middle East. The journey took him to a small village in Egypt, where medieval customs coexisted with 20th-century desires and discontents. But even as Ghosh sought to re-create the life of his Indian predecessor, he found himself immersed in those of his modern Egyptian neighbors.
Combining shrewd observations with painstaking historical research, Ghosh serves up skeptics and holy men, merchants and sorcerers. Some of these figures are real, some only imagined, but all emerge as vividly as the characters in a great novel. In an Antique Land is an inspired work that transcends genres as deftly as it does eras, weaving an entrancing and intoxicating spell.