Manabjameen, Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Supernova Publishers, Rs.495.
Set in West Bengal in the latter part of the 20 century, this is an enveloping saga of myriad intertwined human relationships that often splinter and sometimes mend. Deepnath struggles to find his footing amid urban complexities, all the time longing to lose himself in the lap of nature. Trisha shuns all emotions and ruthlessly builds herself an empire, only to crave release from it, alienated from her husband, Srinath. Srinath, driven over the edge by life, tries to till a patch of barren land which has come to symbolise his existence.
A vivid and moving portrayal of raw human emotions, Manabjameen is one of Bengali literature’s great sagas. This is the first English translation of the work.
The Lost Fragrance, Amit Dasgupta, Wisdom Tree, Rs.195.
A little girl has to avenge the death of her parents. She must travel to the neither-here-nor-there land, a secret place hidden in shadows and whispers. The voyage turns out to be more than she bargained for, as the final battle draws her into the mystery and the dangers of self-discovery.
An adventure story woven around the eternal theme of good and evil. It is about the joy of music and love, of death and of letting go.
The Message of the Koel, Uddanda Sastri, translated by Shankar Rajaraman and Venetia Kotamraju, Rasala, price not stated.
A man, spirited away from his wife’s side, is stranded alone and wretched in Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu. As the season of Vasanta arrives, bringing to bud love alongside the flowers and trees, the pain of separation intensifies and it is at that moment that he sees a koel, the Indian cuckoo. Invoking the bird’s sympathy, he asks it to fly to Chendamangalam in central Kerala with a message for his beloved.
Thus begins Uddanda Sastri’s Kokila Sandesa, or The Message of The Koel, a short love lyric set in mediaeval southern India. The poems are rich in historical, sociological and topographical detail.
The Conquest of Madhura, Gangadevi, translated by Shankar Rajaraman and Venetia Kotamraju, Rasala, price not stated.
The Madhura Vijaya, or The Conquest of Madhura, is a rather special poem. Not only was it discovered just under 100 years ago, more than six centuries after it was composed, but it was also written by a woman, Gangadevi. There are almost 500 verses in the manuscript, several of which are incomplete. Over 200 from across the nine extant cantos have been selected for the book.
The League, Rajiv Rajendra, Springboard, Rs.99.
Prince Abdel Raftar al Raftar has started cricket’s largest spectacle — The League. Every year, the best cricketers from around the world gather on Palmyra Island to become a part of the sporting world’s fastest growing machine with its best-kept secret, one that they can only try and reveal at the cost of their lives.
Tarun Krishnan, former superstar cricketer, comes out of retirement to enter The League, and his life is sent spinning into a vortex of sleaze, money and, of course, cricket. As he tries to uncover the layers of intrigue and deceit, Tarun realises the dangers that he has put his family, and himself into. As the body count grows and dark truths are revealed, Tarun is left with little choice — to beat them he has to join them.