Category: book review

  • Book review: Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

    Book review: Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

    Home Fire Kamila Shamsie Bloomsbury, 264 pages ISBN: 9781408886786 “I have been a stranger here in my own land: All my life” – Antigone, in the play by Sophocles, b circa 496 BC It takes nerve and a steady hand for a writer to adapt a classic. The pitfalls are many – the Mahabharata, and Shakespeare’s […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Brothers in Arms

    Speaking Volumes: Brothers in Arms

    Early on in Brothers, Tapti, on her way home from visiting a prisoner in Tihar Jail, scans a newspaper and the headlines leap out at her; murder, rape. “Despite its vaunted spirituality, India is a bloodthirsty nation. Murder because you gave money, because you owed money, because you loved, or didn’t love, because you were […]

  • Book review: Incarnations, Sunil Khilnani

    Book review: Incarnations, Sunil Khilnani

      “India’s history is a curiously unpeopled place,” Sunil Khilnani writes, in the very first sentence of Incarnations: India in 50 Lives. “As usually told, it has dynasties, epochs, religions and castes – but not many individuals.” The individuals were mentioned in blurry sheets of emperors or Leaders Of The National Movement sandwiched in between […]

  • Lost and Found Girls

    Lost and Found Girls

    The Island of Lost Girls Manjula Padmanabhan Hachette, 376 pages The first home is in the flesh; the first place where most humans feel at home is embedded in their mother’s body, slowly growing aware of their own flesh and blood within hers. It follows that the most terrifying displacement, the most savage experience of […]

  • Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: More hits than myths

    Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: More hits than myths

    Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights: A Novel Salman Rushdie Penguin India/ Hamish Hamilton Rs 599, 286 pages It was after the Emergency that Delhi’s citizens returned to the practice of writing to the jinns of the city, trusting in the existence and benevolence of magical beings who straddled the divide between the […]

  • Translations: Falling Walls, Upendranath Ashk

    Translations: Falling Walls, Upendranath Ashk

    (Introducing a monthly column on books in translation. The only rule the column plans to follow is on language: if the book under review is from one of the three Indian language I can read, I will attempt a comparison with the original. If a book under review is from one of the many Indian […]

  • Speaking Volumes: The Year of the Runaways

    Speaking Volumes: The Year of the Runaways

    In 2013, an employment tribunal in the UK heard testimony from Vijay Begraj and his wife Amardeep, alleging that they had been discriminated against by their former employers. Mr Begraj, who was then a law practice manager, is Dalit, and his wife, who was a lawyer at the same firm, is Jat. The testimony was […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Mockingbird and first drafts

    Speaking Volumes: Mockingbird and first drafts

    The problem with Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman starts and ends with the book jacket, where it is advertised as a “landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer-Prize winning masterpiece, To Kill A Mockingbird”. This is a superbly economical description, not untrue except in its multiple omissions. Charles J Shields has […]

  • Book Review: The Dark Net

    Book Review: The Dark Net

    “Bartlett is an excellent guide to the Dark Net as it existed up to 2014. He has a well-informed, curious mind, is not squeamish and isn’t interested in sensationalism. He’s just as fascinated by the human creativity on display as by the crime and anarchy the Dark Net fosters.”

  • Flood of Fire: The Ibis’s last tumasher

    Flood of Fire: The Ibis’s last tumasher

    Flood of Fire Amitav Ghosh Penguin India Rs 799, 616 pages It seems just the other day that a ship called the Ibis, “like a great bird, with sails like wings and a long beak”, set sail with a company man, a coolie woman escaped from suttee and the opium trade, a zamindar turned prisoner, […]