Piya Roy is an American marine biologist of Indian parentage who is visiting the Sunderbans to study the Irrawady dolphin. During her visit she employs Fokir, a local fisherman, to row her around the area and meets Kanai, a Delhi businessman. These two men give her insights into two very different views of the future of the Sundarbans.
Fokir seems to have a sixth sense about where to find dolphins and Piya is rewarded with excellent sightings and not-quite sightings:
She sprang into a kneeling position and listened carefully, tuning her ears to the fog. A few minutes of close attention was all it took to know there were several dolphins in the vicinity of the boat. The sounds were scattered in direction and seemed to change location frequently; some were faint and far away while others were close at hand. She had spent great lengths of time listening to these muffled grunts and knew exactly what they were: only the Irrawady dolphin produced this kind of sound.
Piya's work isn't all straightforward, she has to contend with language difficulties with the local people and plenty of difficult weather conditions. But during her visit she becomes committed to the Sunderbans and their wildlife.
This is a fascinating novel, which really brings the Sunderbans wetlands to life and engaging the reader with the area. It does sometimes feel slightly too long but the ending is wonderful, so keep going!
Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh published by Harper Collins.
The Sundarbans are under threat, read more by following the links below
Sunderbans steadily losing its famed mangroves.
Stop the coal plant, save the Sunderbans.