India Unlimited; Kulpreet Yadav, Lifi Publications, Rs.190

Thirty-one stories of a nation caught between hype and hope. Stories of an India that has captured the attention of the worlds of business and entertainment. What was home to great ancient civilizations is now the world’s largest democracy. But how real is the Indian story on the ground? ‘India Unlimited’ Written over the last decade, these stories are an attempt to depict the pain, pleasure and prejudices of everyday Indians as they adjust to a country in overhaul.

Jesus in our Time; Utopia; Nilanjana Sanyal, Sanbun Publication, Rs.150

This is the tale of Catherine, Ted and Rachel Norton’s millennium child. It talks of the protagonist’s travels and tribulations, of a girl’s disappearance in Addis Ababa and the story of Ethiopia itself. The book deals with changes within Catherine and the future of a country boiling over with unrest and protests.

In Utopia, Sanyal writes of a modern day world, and her idea of Utopia. The stories highlight certain inequalities and show the readers how these act as roadblocks towards achieving that cherished dream of a utopian society.

The Boatman of the Padma; Manik Bandyopadhyay, Translated by Ratan K. Chattopadhyay, Orient Blackswan, Rs.250

An English translation of Manik Bandyopadhyay’s Bengali classic Padma Nadir Majhi (1936), The Boatman of the Padma is a story of the lives of boatmen and fishermen in Ketupur, a village in Bangladesh (then, East Bengal), nurtured by the river Padma, the lifeline of the country.

The book also provides detailed notes on some of the local idioms and cultural practices used in the context of the story.

Frozen Waves; S.S. Kumar, Frog Books, Rs.195

A Hindu king flees the Moghul army and takes refuge at Netidhopani in Sundarban, West Bengal. His son escapes with a Roma Gypsy. The royal riches are buried in a desolate island. Over centuries, the treasure eludes the British, a band of Portugese pirates and the Chinese. Years later, Amit Roy’s vacation in India in the company of Anita, his student, Raju, his nephew, and Elena with Roma turns into a bizarre adventure in the tiger—infested jungles.

Good Night, Mr. Kissinger and Other Stories; K. Anis Ahmed, The University Press Limited, Rs.570

Crowded and disordered, the city of Dhaka routinely deals out unexpected blows, setbacks and isolation, as well as success and epiphany to its denizens, some of whom populate this collection of nine stories in this collection. “Chameli” follows a young boy as he falls for a neighbourhood Punjabi girl in 1970, while “Losing Ayesha” explores the tests of young love that endure into adulthood. Dhaka’s darker side emerges when an out-of-work accountant accidentally triggers a mob beating, and returning expatriate struggles to reconcile himself to what the city has become in his absence. Employing spare but precise language that recalls Naipaul and Coetzee, these stories mark the debut of a strong new talent in the burgeoning scene of English writing in Bangladesh.

Pangs of Life; Williams Nkurunziza, Jain University Press, Rs.2000

This is the first book by H.E. Mr. Williams Nkurunziza, the current High Commissioner of Rwanda to India. ‘Pangs of life’ is presented in seven sections and reveals the journey of the author’s life. In this collection of poems, he has captured the catastrophe of the Rwandan Genocide, mindless violence and the inconsolable grief it left in its wake. Forced into exile at the age of two, Nkurunziza lived in a refugee camp in Western Uganda until the age of 14. In these 12 years, he witnessed despair, turmoil, hope and depression.

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