Not so tall tales

David Davidar on his fascination with short stories and how he put together A Clutch of Indian Masterpieces.
  • Reign men

    A series of anecdotes that cohere into an engaging account of contemporary Indian politics.
  • Journeys galore

    Anita Nair explores the recurring themes of gender and caste with competence.
  • Verse comes to verse

    The ongoing Poetry with Prakriti, presented by The Hindu Lit for Life, serves the starters at the cultural smorgasbord that is Chennai’s Margazhi Season.
  • Man of the masses

    Chetan Bhagat talks about his readers and critics.
December 6, 2014

Literati: A look at the world of books, publishing and writers

Watching Ameen Haque of The Storywallahs perform at the Kahani Tree, Bookaroo, was a treat. He wove stories, poetry and music together and had the audience singing and laughing along with him. In... »
The Bone Clocks; David Mitchell, Sceptre, Rs. 699.
December 6, 2014

Leap of faith

In his most recent work, David Mitchell tells a story in six narratives, with great leaps of time between them. We start at a small Irish town in 1984 and end in the same place far in the future, w... »
December 6, 2014
Book extract


II Catch Dopdi Mejhen. She will lead us to the others. Dopdi was proceeding slowly, with some rice knotted into her belt. Mushai Tudu’s wife had cooked her some. She does so oc... »
The Way Things Were; Aatish Taseer, Picador India, Rs. 699.
December 6, 2014

This country, these people

Aatish Taseer’s new book The Way Things Were is not so much about a family but about a nation and a language. It’s a paean to Sanskrit, written from the perspective of a passionate and ultim... »
Views and Reviews; M.S. Nagarajan, Ennes, price not stated.
December 6, 2014

Essaying it with style

Did Naipaul transcend the colonial self? Did Shakespeare actually produce that prodigious and peerless body of work all by himself? Does a classic define itself merely by surviving? Nagarajan disti... »
A Bad Character; Deepti Kapoor, Penguin, Rs. 499.
December 6, 2014

Life in the fast lane

Delhi is a difficult city to live it, with its social norms, power centres and roundabouts. In 2000 — before the Metro that eventually managed to make commuting a comparative breeze — everyone drov... »
Author Bradford Morrow. Photo: Jessamine Chan.
December 6, 2014

Endpaper: Killing words

The Forgers is the first full throttle biblio-mystery to come along since John Dunning stopped writing his bestselling Cliff Janeway series decades ago. We’ve been treated to a lot of biblio... »
A Madras Miasma; Brian Stoddart, Crime Wave Press, Rs. 876.
December 6, 2014

A Madras murder from Down Under

A couple of months ago I received a strange request on my blog: If the writer would be kind enough to send his postal address, he would receive a book. Now books have always been my weakness, so I... »
V.S. Naipaul. Photo: Sandeep Saxena
November 2, 2014

A brown sahib’s gaze

This year marks a half century of the ban on An Area of Darkness, V.S. Naipaul’s travelogue on India. I read the book to learn what could have led to the ban and to find reasons to condemn i... »
Out of Line: A Literary and Political Biography of Nayantara Sahgal; Ritu Menon, Fourth Estate, Rs.699.
November 2, 2014

Snippets from a rich life

If modern India ever had a royal family, it has been the Nehrus. Which makes their lives particularly interesting both from a historical point of view, and for sheer gossip value. The Nehrus don’t... »

Pursuit of power

‘Writing is a lonely business’

Slow burn

‘It was like a birthday gift for my father’

Wordsmith: Intizar Husain

Beauty of bhakti


When good men go to war

Author P.D. James
December 6, 2014

Queen of crime

Several years ago, I had an argument with a colleague — a connoisseur of detective fiction — about who was better at the genre: men or women? The colleague said that men were far superior (althoug... »
The Steradian trail; M.N. Krish, Westland, Rs. 295.
December 6, 2014

Racy read

This is yet another IIT novel but, unlike its predecessors, this one is not about campus capers, cross-culture romances or post-graduate suicides. M.N. Krish (an ex-IITian), leads the reader right... »
Hangwoman; K.R. Meera, Trs. J. Devika, Penguin, Rs. 699.
December 6, 2014

And thereby hangs a tale

In his 1928 book, A Handbook on Hanging, Charles Duff, an officer in the British Merchant Navy, argued that capital punishment is brutal killing, regardless of the claims of its deterrent ef... »
The House with the Green Roof; Ashish Vikram
December 6, 2014

People and lives

A book is almost always like a movie. It plays in your head as you lap up the sentences and images. This is what Ashish Vikram’s The House with the Green Roof attempts to do. Veenu, a young... »
Matabele Dawn; Saad Bin Jung, Rs. 449.
December 6, 2014

Ancient vibes

Two things are very clear from Saad Bin Jung’s Matabele Dawn — the author has an incredible love for culture and history, and he goes out of his way to paint a picture so vivid, that the rea... »
Chronicles of Urban Nomads; Ed. Sutapa Basu.
December 6, 2014
At a glance

Snappy shorts

A short story is, often, the toughest form of storytelling. It has to be concise, yet replete with just enough detail; not too long winding, yet not too short. And when it comes to an anthology of... »
The Red Helmet, Deepika Shetty.
December 6, 2014

A desi decade

“Cigarette smoking can kill. This book won’t. Please don’t say you weren’t warned.” These words greet you at the start of Deepika Shetty's debut novel, The Red Helmet. It sets you up for the... »
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
November 2, 2014

Literati: Happy readers

A recent article, “The Percy Jackson problem”, argued that Rick Riordan’s rewriting of Greek myths for a contemporary audience is unacceptable since it lures young readers away from the “classics”. »
When God is a Traveller; Arundhathi Subramaniam, HarperCollins, Rs.399.
November 2, 2014

Ode to the self

Arundhathi Subramaniam’s lyrical poems on the body and the spirit work themselves tenuously through modernist tradition; emerging translucent in stunningly new incarnations. The poetic renderings e... »
Alix Christie
November 2, 2014

Endpaper: Pressing news

The question ‘what did Gutenberg invent?’ is not as easy or simple to answer as we once thought.  Most of us know now what he invented was the process of movable type, not the printing press. But t... »

Thoughts, words, images...

Feeling the heat

Catalyst for change

‘The impulse for satire comes from a sense of fairness’

Livin’ on a prayer

A woman of words

Sacred thoughts

Last Sunday, a friend left a message for me on Facebook. “Professor Mushirul Hasan was injured in a road accident. He is critical.” I said a quick prayer for his life and health. As news came in, f... »

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