Fiction

The Writer’s Endurance Test

Book Review ♦ The Assassination of Indira Gandhi: The Collected Stories of Upamanyu Chatterjee, Volume I Originally published in India Today. From the ‘hazaar fucked’ slang of English, August through six subsequent novels and a novella, linguistic playfulness has always been a central feature of Upamanyu Chatterjee’s style, enamouring as many readers as it puts …

The Writer’s Endurance Test Read More »

A Deadly Cocktail in Delhi

Book Review: Killing Time in Delhi ♦By Ravi Shankar Etteth A certain kind of book predictably gets described as a “heady cocktail” of sex, drugs, crime and money. Killing Time In Delhi is such a book. As with other quaffable novels that suggest endless parties and rapid repartee, high-polish beauties and dark underbellies, Killing Time is about society’s upper …

A Deadly Cocktail in Delhi Read More »

Fathers, Sons and Motherlands

Book Review: South Haven ♦By Hirsh SawhneyHarperCollins Publishers India, 2016 When the Babri Masjid was demolished, I was about the same age as Siddharth Arora, the preteen protagonist of Hirsh Sawhney’s debut novel. Like him, I was a first generation Indian American, growing up in an east coast suburb; like him, the news reached me …

Fathers, Sons and Motherlands Read More »

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 …

The Hired Man Read More »

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 …

Hats and Doctors Read More »

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 …

Unclaimed Terrain Read More »

News flashback

Anuja Chauhan’s third romantic comedy is set in Delhi of the 1980s ♦ A tall, dark and distinctively handsome journalist with a conscience meets a beautiful, intelligent “DeshDarpan” newsreader with four sisters, a house on Hailey Road and a distinctive mole on her chin. Delhi in the 1980s and India’ widening mediascape are the backdrop of …

News flashback Read More »

Holy trinity

Manil Suri on writing the third of his mythological novels ♦ Math professor and writer Manil Suri grew up in Bombay, but has lived in the USA since attending college there in the 1980s. Suri revisited his home city in his first novel, Death of Vishnu, which was long-listed for a Booker in 2001. His …

Holy trinity Read More »

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 …

The Walls of Delhi Read More »