Your reading list for the week

Photo for representation.   | Photo Credit: R. Ravindran


‘I Have Become the Tide’: The years of the flood

‘Where is that land where water flows free?’ This is the refrain of a song that Chikka’s cattle-skinner father sings, longing for renewal in a swift river. His daily reality, however, is the pond in the untouchable colony: frothy, filthy, boiling with algae, and cooking poison. Githa Hariharan’s novel begins a few centuries ago, on the day Chikka’s father is buried. Chikka flees the colony, carrying nothing but his drum and his despair, and finds refuge with two men who are part of a utopian society.

'I Have Become the Tide' is a luminous novel that draws you out from its constructed world and throws you down in front of today’s newspaper, writes our reviewer Latha Anantharaman.

‘Tiger Woman’: In a Barnum and Bailey world

In 2014, a new edition of the travelogues of one of the most vivacious figures of the Bengal Renaissance, Priyanath Bose, came out. Bose who founded the Great Bengal Circus in 1887, established that Indians can well take on Europeans in gymnastics, vaudeville and animals acts. Sirsho Bandopadhyay’s 2016 Bengali novel, Shardulsundari, dramatised Bose’s life with élan — although, not unexpectedly, Bose’s travelogue itself is brimful of drama.

Arunava Sinha’s expert translation keeps the excitement intact while serving to introduce a now-almost-forgotten Bengali pioneer to a larger audience, writes Anusua Mukherjee in her review.

‘Newcomer: A Story of Death in Tokyo’: Death and the city

In this latest story about a low-profile cop Kyoichiro Kaga, he has just been transferred to an old-fashioned Tokyo precinct where he himself is a curious stranger. This becomes an intriguing setting for a murder, though the crime appears — at least initially — merely to be an excuse for Kaga to spend days exploring the quaint alleys of the area.

Keigo Higashino’s novel is perhaps mostly to be seen as a take on the classic Agatha Christie style of detective fiction but upgraded by about a 100 years into an entertaining Japanese-style mind game, writes our reviewer Zac O'Yeah.

Here are a few other suggestions from our fiction bookshelf:

'The Legacy of Nothing' by Manoj Pandey

This is a collection of stories “culled from the ennui of modern living”. A Maoist from Nepal; a victim of identity politics; a struggling musician — such nameless souls come together in these dark disjointed tales accompanied by stunning illustrations. Pandey is a writer and an illustrator based in New Delhi.

'Sweet Shop' by Amit Chaudhari

The inspiration for this volume of poetry is Amit Chaudhuri’s visits to sweet shops in the by-lanes of Calcutta. The poems speak of what it means to discover, marvel at, and taste the universe. As the first line of the book says, “The whole universe is here”. The edible, the intimate, and the singular come together here.

'Three Plays' by Annie Zaidi

This collection of plays by Annie Zaidi includes her most recent work, Untitled 1, which addresses current debates about free speech. The other pieces are Jam, which examines violence and “the devaluation of feminine labour”, and Name, Place, Animal, Thing, inspired by her concern for children who grow up as servants.

'Something I Never Told You' by Shravya Bhinder

This is about falling in and out of love. After an arduous wooing, Ronnie gets his first crush, Adira. As they get close and comfortable with each other, life takes on another hue. From magical it becomes routine as egos and doubts clash. Ronnie and Adira will probably never find their happily ever after.

'To Kill the Truth' by Sam Bourne

Former White House operative Maggie Costello has sworn off politics. But when the Governor of Virginia seeks her help to stop a series of killings, she knows that this is bigger than any political game. Black Lives Matter protestors clash with slavery deniers: the conspiracy could ignite a new civil war.


‘Medical Education in Western India — Grant Medical College and Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy’s Hospital’ review: Interpreting maladies

This book will be of interest not just to the medical profession, but also to administrators, students of history, and most general readers, writes our reviewer M.K. Mani.

The only section that might bore the non-medical reader is that on details of the syllabus used in teaching, and the examination papers, and this is quite brief. On the other hand, medical personnel who have been educated and examined in modern times will relish this information.

‘Business and Politics in India’ review: Coming up short

Business and Politics in India, as the title suggests, tries examine the accelerated shift in the balance of political power — in ways both direct and indirect — towards business. Scholars analyse the nature of business power and the manner in which it shapes political change in India.

The population excluded by the market economy, the informal labour and rural segments, is unlikely to passively let business dominance over the state go unchecked beyond a point, writes Puja Mehra in her review.

‘Dalit Literatures in India’ review: Voice of protest

How far and in which direction has Dalit literature travelled? The second edition of Dalit Literatures in India outlines efforts behind collection of scholarly articles written on various aspects of Dalit literature, its impact on awakening the community and the politics of protest by marginalised people from different regions in India.

This volume, a collection of scholarly essays and research by over 20 authors, takes an in-depth look at Dalit literature. The essays have dissected and thoroughly analysed writings by Dalit authors to assess their literary value, writes our reviewer Prakash Bal Joshi.

Here are a few other suggestions from our non-fiction bookshelf:

'Political Parties, Party Manifestos and Elections in India, 1909-2014' by R.K. Tiwari

This volume traces the evolution of the electoral system, political parties and party manifestos in India as they emerged and developed over time. It also analyses Constituent Assembly debates on the electoral system.

'Ground Scorching Tax' by Arun Kumar

The government launched the Goods and Services Tax on July 1, 2017, with an aim to bring about ease of doing business, increase tax collection, lower inflation, increase GDP growth and check the black economy. An economist explains why it has been beset with problems and confusion.

'The Right to Sanitation in India: Critical Perspectives' edited by Philippe Cullet, Sujith Koonan, Lovleen Bhullar

The right to sanitation has been recognised in India for more than two decades. This book analyses the role of the Swachh Bharat Mission, waste water treatment and re-use, and manual scavenging.

'Doing Justice' by Preet Bharara

For eight years, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York prosecuted some of the most high-profile crimes. Called the ‘Sheriff of Wall Street’, and one of the first federal employees to be fired by Donald Trump, Bharara takes readers into America’s complex criminal justice system.

'The Lives of Freda' by Andrew Whitehead

From the time Freda Houlston married B.P.L. Bedi at a registry office in Oxford in 1933, she regarded herself as Indian. She was English by birth and upbringing, and Indian by marriage, cultural affinity and political loyalty. Later, she travelled the world as a revered Buddhist teacher.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 3:24:21 AM |

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