Ramayan 3392 AD; Westland, Rs.495.
The world has suffered apocalyptic devastation. Only two nations survive — Aryavarta, where the last vestiges of humankind dwells and Nark, a dark continent ruled by the savage Asuras. Ravan, the demonic ruler of Nark, threatens Aryavarta with his desire for world domination. But hope remains in the form of four princes of Aryavarta Bharat, Shatrughan, Lakshman and the Prince Rama.
Shekhar Kapur’s Devi, Westland, Rs.395.
A native of the mythic city of Sitapur, Tara Mehta has no idea that she is about to become the centrepiece of a divine battle between the Gods of Light and the demon Lord Bala. But, in a never-ending war where innocent human souls are the unfortunate, but acceptable, collateral damage, the all-too-human Goddess begins to wonder if either side deserves to win.
Love and Death in the Middle Kingdom; Nalini Rajan, Alchemy, Rs.195.
In a society driven by caste-centred norms and pollution taboos, the stealthy love affair between a 16th century Vijayanagara courtier and a Persian traveller and a Portuguese trader must lead them inevitably into a horrific doom. Centuries later, the courtier’s diary, is discovered quite by chance by a student of History, Sharat. Along with his colleague Nitya, he sets out on an exciting voyage of self-discovery and lessons in history and life.
Vilayti Pani: A Brown Sahib Story; Terry O’Brien, NCBA, Rs.140.
Sid sees the prism of Anglo-Indians through the span of four generations — one born in 1907, the next in early 1950s, the third in the 1960s and the fourth at the turn of the century. From people living in the Edwardian wilderness of the ‘good old days’ to the youth of today who also love to shake a leg but with no railways institutes where the crowd of a kind could mingle; from the days of the Grandma’s recipes to the days of fast food and instant gratification, the novel is a trip back in time to old familiar places and people.
The Diary of a Reluctant Feminist; Bhavna Bhavna, Hachette, Rs.299.
The book chronicles a young woman's attempt to get divorced as she struggles to explain the flimsy grounds of incompatibility to her disapproving, old-fashioned, middle-class Punjabi family. Warm, humorous, sad and wise, this is a book for all those who have ever dreaded telling their parents an uncomfortable truth about themselves.
T.C. Boyle Stories II; Bloomsbury, Rs.899.
This collection comprises three later volumes of short fiction — After the Plague, Tooth and Claw and Wild Child — along with a new collection, A Death in Kitchawank. These 58 stories explore the mundane, the devastating, the figurative and the implausible in a masterful and enthralling collection.
The Essential Ved Mehta; Penguin, Rs.599.
A definitive collection of the author’s work, the book contains excerpts from nearly all his writings, many of which first appeared in William Shawn’s New Yorker. Each entry comes with a reflection by Mehta. Authoritative and illuminating, this is not just an introduction to this seminal writer but also a passionate record of a writer looking back upon his own work.
Indian Tango; Ananda Devi, Random House, Rs.299.
Lost to the meaning of her life, a foreign writer arrives in Delhi seeking the wordless company of strangers. Delhi is an exploded sun, bleeding everywhere its untrammelled chaos: the feral dampness of bus fumes; the suicidal rush of scooters; the autorickshaw seats impregnated with thousands of odours — nauseous accretions of India’s muddy human tide. The men with their stinking bidis rule as masters and the women remain walled in by centuries of tradition. As she rediscovers her voice and ability to write a story, and as monsoon arrives, low and heavy-bellied, washing away the concrete barricades of customa secret encounter in a music store opens up an ancient door of forbidden pleasures.
Other Lives, Other Fragments; Sanjay Dasgupta, Niyogi Books, Rs.350.
A look at the human story behind cataclysmic events through the diary of Badrul Islam, dispossessed during the 1947 and 1971 riots, and the tale of Manik, a boy from nowhere going nowhere, and how their lives touch each other. Dasgupta tries to explore the implications of acts of hate in the name of religion and politics.