Tag Archives: Book review

The Angst of Being a Modern Indian

The Cosmopolitans ♦ Anjum Hasan Penguin India, 309 pages, Rs 499. “Being a modern Indian is hard work,” a former king tells Qayanaat, the protagonist of Anjum Hasan’s The Cosmopolitans. If this is true for the King, the dispossessed monarch of fictional, small-town Simhal, it’s certainly so for Qayanaat, a 53-year-old single woman who lives in […]

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Published: 28. 12. 2015 | Comments: 0

Crash of Civilisations

City of Spies ♦ By Sorayya Khan Aleph Book Company, New Delhi, 2015, 239 pp., Rs 295 (PB) ISBN 978-93-83064-78-6 Pakistan was scorchingly hot during the summer of 1977, the narrator of City of Spies recalls: “the newspapers were filled with worry that rain might never come”. And the persistent Cold War chill in relations between the United States of America and the Soviet Union only […]

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Published: 09. 11. 2015 | Comments: 0

Capital Rambles

Delhi: Unknown Tales of a City By RV Smith (Roli, ₹295) Among the contemporary crop of Delhi’s flâneurs and society chroniclers, Ronald Vivian Smith is a tall figure. The septuagenarian arrived from Agra in the late 1950s, and his regular columns in The Statesman and The Hindu span the decades of wandering he has done in […]

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Published: 03. 08. 2015 | Comments: 0

A Strange, Familiar Place

This Place ♦ By Amitabha Bagchi Fourth Estate / HarperCollins, New Delhi, 2013, 253 pp., Rs 499 (HB) ISBN 978-93-5116-018-2 After being suspended from his government job, Naresh Kumar, the title character in Amitabha Bagchi’s previous book, The Householder (Fourth Estate, 2012), finds himself a stranger in his own house. He waits desperately for the evening, […]

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Published: 16. 04. 2014 | Comments: 0

The Hired Man

Aminatta Forna travels to Croatia for her fourth novel ♦ In her fourth book, Aminatta Forna ventures out of Sierra Leone and Africa, the setting for her previous titles (including the Commonwealth Writer’s Prizewinning The Memory of Love). Set in a small town at the foot of the mountains in Croatia, The Hired Man, like Forna’s […]

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Published: 04. 08. 2013 | Comments: 0

Hats and Doctors

Daisy Rockwell’s translation of the late Upendranath Ashk ♦ Daisy Rockwell’s translation of Hindi-Urdu writer Upendranath Ashk’s short stories is more of a teaser than a complete introduction to the Jalandhar-born author. Rockwell, who also edited the collection, had the fortune to meet Ashk a year before he died in Allahabad in 1996. She admiringly characterises […]

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Published: 16. 04. 2013 | Comments: 0

Unclaimed Terrain

Ajay Navaria’s stories deal with the new customs of caste ♦ A tea cup, a clogged toilet, a pair of old gym shoes; these innocuous objects are transformed into loaded signifiers of caste in a new collection of short stories by Jamia Millia professor and writer Ajay Navaria. These concrete details and objects anchor the […]

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Published: 04. 03. 2013 | Comments: 0

Seeing like a Feminist

Nivedita Menon sets her sights on a broader audience ♦ Don’t attract attention, don’t get yourself raped. Do get married and definitely make babies. In the face of all these patriarchal rules, we want justice and it’s pretty much a given that we want it now. Feminist scholar and activist Nivedita Menon wouldn’t necessarily dismiss […]

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Published: 04. 02. 2013 | Comments: 0

The Walls of Delhi

Uday Prakash’s stories bring downtrodden characters to life ♦ “I bet you’re thinking that I’m taking advantage of the one hundred and twenty fifth anniversary of the birth of Premchand, the King of Hindi Fiction, to spin you some hundredand- twenty-five-year-old story, dressed up as a tale of today,” writes Uday Prakash, in one of […]

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Published: 01. 02. 2013 | Comments: 0

Another Country

Anjali Joseph processes bewilderment ♦ If Anjali Joseph’s  second novel is  best devoured in  one sitting, it’s  not because it  wouldn’t hold up  to slow, literary  scrutiny. Rather,  it’s because  Another Country  is the refreshing opposite of that  “urgent book” that demands  moral engagement. It builds  character-driven emotional  momentum through protagonist  Leela’s peregrinations through  Paris, […]

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Published: 04. 08. 2012 | Comments: 0