Literary Review

Reading Room: New titles to look forward to

Platform No. 10; Loveleen Kacker, Hachette India, Rs. 395.  

Keeping the Jewel in the Crown; Walter Reid, Penguin/ Viking, Rs. 599.

The general view of India’s Independence has been that Britain had been steadily working for an amicable transfer of power for decades. With the help of documentary evidence, from private letters to public records and state papers, author Walter Reid argues that nothing could be further from the truth. A revealing history of the last 30 years of the Raj, the book exposes the way in which India’s aspirations for self-rule were obstructed by deceit and bad faith.

****

A Path and Many Shadows & Twelve Stories; Rajelakshmy, trs RK Jayasree, Orient BlackSwan & Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University, Rs. 575.

A Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award-winning novel, this book from the ’60s, by the brilliant Rajelakshmy, deals with questions of faith, oppression, desire and death. It is the story of a girl growing up in southern India in the 1950s, in a society that is deeply patriarchal. The book also includes 12 other short stories.

****

Nari Bhav: Androgyny and Female Impersonation in India; ed Tutun Mukherjee, Niladri R. Chatterjee, Niyogi Books, Rs. 795.

The book delives into the concepts of androgyny and ‘nari bhav’ — sensibility of the feminine beyond the anatomical definitions circumscribed within the realm of the third sex or third gender. These concepts permeate Indian cultural ethos as expressed through female impersonators not only in religion, theatre and dance but also in films, television and the internet. The book includes interactions with these performers.

****

Platform No. 10; Loveleen Kacker, Hachette India, Rs. 395.

Young and destitute at a railway station, Ami is trying his best to stay out of trouble. In another part of the city, affluent young widow Janaki is disillusioned by the betrayal of her family. When life brings Janaki and Ami face to face on platform no. 10 in Delhi’s Nizamuddin station, their worlds collide, setting off events that will forever change their destiny.

****

Mrs. LC’s Table: Stories about Kayasth Food and Culture; Anoothi Vishal, Hachette India, Rs. 350.

A food narrative that combines the author’s memories of her grandmother, “Mrs. LC”, with tales of feasts and fasts, weddings and musical soirees. The book explores the rich tapestry of the Kayasth community through an intimate portrait of a family’s, and a community’s, social mores. Also included are 20 recipes.

****

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: The People’s President; S.M. Khan, Bloomsbury, Rs. 299.

The author S.M. Khan was press secretary to the late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and shares lesser-known facts and stories that made Kalam the ‘People’s President’. Details of his domestic and foreign visits as President are narrated elaborately, as are his post-presidency days. Khan last met Kalam just a few days before his death.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 2:40:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/literary-review/Reading-Room-New-titles-to-look-forward-to/article16442869.ece

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