The Calcutta Chromosome – Amitav Ghosh (1995)
An interesting premise, which begins with a researcher researching the disappearance of another researcher, who himself was investigating the life of Robert Ross, the man who discovered the connection between mosquitoes and malaria.
One has the impression of being drawn into a web when reading this; a net which slowly closes as the various coincidences, chance happenings and meetings begin to come together to provide us with the secret that has been held within a select group of people since the 19th Century.
Confusingly, the narrative veers between various characters, and backwards and forwards in time, occasionally diverging into strange anecdotal stories such as the tale of what happened to a scientist when he arrived at a reputedly haunted Indian train station.
We are nevertheless taken on a wonderful, colourful journey through an India of various times, as the threads are slowly and exquisitely drawn together to the conclusion.
It’s a marvellous, refreshing work, and highly recommended.