The Glass Palace

The Glass Palace

A Novel

Book - 2001
Average Rating:
Rate this:

"A rich, layered epic that probes the meaning of identity and homeland-- a literary territory that is as resonant now, in our globalized culture, as it was when the sun never set on the British Empire."-- Los Angeles Times Book Review

Set in Burma during the British invasion of 1885, this masterly novel tells the story of Rajkumar, a poor boy lifted on the tides of political and social chaos, who goes on to create an empire in the Burmese teak forest. When soldiers force the royal family out of the Glass Palace and into exile, Rajkumar befriends Dolly, a young woman in the court of the Burmese Queen, whose love will shape his life. He cannot forget her, and years later, as a rich man, he goes in search of her. The struggles that have made Burma, India, and Malaya the places they are today are illuminated in this wonderful novel by the writer Chitra Divakaruni calls "a master storyteller."

Praise for The Glass Palace

"An absorbing story of a world in transition, brought to life through characters who love and suffer with equal intensity." --J. M. Coetzee

"There is no denying Ghosh's command of culture and history. . . . [He] proves a writer of supreme skill and intelligence." -- The Atlantic Monthly

"I will never forget the young and old Rajkumar, Dolly, the Princesses, the forests of teak, the wealth that made families and wars. A wonderful novel. An incredible story." --Grace Paley

"A novelist of dazzling ingenuity." -- San Francisco Chronicle
Publisher: New York : Random House, ©2001.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780375758775
Branch Call Number: GHOSH A
Characteristics: 474, [1] pages : map ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Dec 31, 2018

I have read a lot of books about the "Raj", starting with "The Jewel in the Crown". "Motilal's Tattoo" introduced me to the ethnic cleansing that took place in Burma after Japan prevailed briefly there. This story captures the history over several generations and beautifully depicts the internal conflict of men and women who were raised to respect the Empire but some felt ultimately that they owed their allegiance to their own people and others never wavered. The capitalist wave that included teak and rubber is well described in exquisite detail. As is the monarchical society of Burma that fell to the colonialists but never left the hearts of the people. As has been said before, things are complicated. A fast read. Many heart-stopping moments. Well worth the time invested in this family saga.

Dec 22, 2016

Feels like it could have, maybe should have been 2 books. Covers a lot of distance and time and characters and, while I enjoyed it immensely, I felt myself getting lost in the modern day parts with trying to keep up with who's kids were who's and such. Not a lot of happiness, but still a very good read.

Mar 02, 2015

Here is a wealth of character, incident, and place still awaiting an interpreter. The tale wants to grow and expand, but, alas, Ghosh keeps it in a box.

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 22, 2014

A novel for readers who like their stories big, bold and full of history, politics and of course love. Set in Burma and India, ranging from WWII to the present day, this is a family saga that should appeal to anyone who enjoyed The Jewel in the Crown or A Passage to India.

Mar 24, 2013

This book was just beautiful. The imagery, the language, the characters, they all came together to paint a very realistic picture of Southeast Asia in the 1900s. More than anything, I felt content to read this book slowly and savor each step of the journey, and when the end came, everything fell into place as it should. I don't think I'll be picking up another book for a while because of the impact this novel has left in me. The topics Ghosh breaches are heavy and controversial, but throughout the novel there was a sense that though there may never be peace in this world, a certain kind of internal calm can be found within oneself.

Jun 01, 2012

I read this in high school. As a teen, I felt that it was a difficult read. Not only is the text dense and much of the action highly detailed, but the majority of plot events have negative consequences for the characters. Character development takes place as the characters struggle to cope with or escape profound and repeated loss, often by traveling across Burma. The writing and imagery is beautiful, but the story is tragic. Although a satisfying and thrilling read peppered with memorably spooky tales, I had to put it down several times and take breaks because it drained my emotion and left me with a profound sense of fatigue and sadness.

Mar 04, 2011

A little bit slow to start but once it gets going, so good. Beautiful writing. I loved the characters.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at LPL

To Top