Reviews

New on the rack

The PetPost Secret by Radhika R. Dhariwal.  

Though he is just 13, Squirrel is the PetPost slave — the last slave n the animal town of Bimmau. Every morning he puts oh his uniform and delivers the mail for his lazy mongoose boss. But when Squirrel swigs some forbidden wine at a wedding, his mother’s voice speaks to him: “Start your journey that leads to long-lost Brittle’s Key,” she urges. Go find, my son, your destiny.” Will Squirrel succeed? For not only his fate, bu also the fate of the land hangs in the balance…

The PetPost Secret; Radhika R. Dhariwal, Harper, Rs.250.

***

We live in a world where battles are fought in cyberspace, relationships are forged through voice-over-IP, and declarations of love are made through speedy text messages. The stories in this book weigh the deep impact of technology on our lives, relationships, and the ways in which we perceive each other and ourselves. This collection of 20 stories  traces this brave new world we have come to inherit.

Only Connect: Short Fiction about Technology and Us from the Indian Subcontinent and Australia; edited by Meenakshi Bharat & Sharon Rundle, Rupa, Rs.195.

***

When headlines around the world announced the creation of the world’s first synthetic life form, humankind arrived at the threshold of the most important and exciting phase of biological research in history. In this book, J. Craig Venter shares the dramatic account of how he led a team of scientists in this pioneering effort and provides an opportunity to ponder anew the age-old question “What is life?” at the dawn of a new era of biological engineering.

Life at the Speed of Light; J. Craig Venter, Hachette India, Rs.399.

***

Venkatesh, a bank manager, stumbles on his look-alike and then discovers his father’s hidden past, which includes an abandoned wife and child. Can he make amends? After his father’s death, Mukesh is shocked to realise he was adopted. He sets out to find his biological mother but is confused about where his loyalties lie: with the mother who gave birth to him or the mother who brought him up. Two stories that explore the human heart to reveal what we really feel about those closest to us.

The Mother I Never Knew; Sudha Murty, Penguin, Rs.250.

***

Queerness isn’t only modern, Western, or sexual. Take a close look at the vast written and oral tradition in Hinduism, some over 2000 years old, and you will find many overlooked tales. Such as Shikandi, who became a man to satisfy her wife. Of Mahadeva, who became a woman to deliver his devotee’s child. Of Chudala, who became a man to enlighten her husband. Of Samavan, who became the wife of his male friend. And many more… These stories reveal the unique Indian way of making sense of queerness.

Shikahandi and Other Tales They Don’t Tell You; Devdutt Pattanaik, Penguin, Rs.299.



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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 12:50:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/new-on-the-rack/article6344899.ece

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