A Great Clamour
Sub title: Encounters with China and Its Neighbours
One Part Woman
All of Kali and Ponna’s efforts to conceive a child—from prayers to penance, potions to pilgrimages—have been in vain. Despite being in a loving and sexually satisfying relationship, they are relentlessly hounded by the taunts and insinuations of the people around them. Ultimately, all their hopes and apprehensions come to converge on the chariot festival in the temple of the half-female god Ardhanareeswara and the revelry surrounding it. Everything hinges on the one night when rules are relaxed and consensual union between any man and woman is sanctioned. This night could end the couple’s suffering and humiliation. But it will also put their marriage to the ultimate test. Acutely observed, One Part Woman lays bare with unsparing clarity a relationship caught between the dictates of social convention and the tug of personal anxieties, vividly conjuring an intimate and unsettling portrait of marriage, love and sex.
The Essential Ved Mehta
The Essential Ved Mehta is the definitive collection of the author’s work, containing excerpts from nearly all his writings, many of which first appeared in William Shawn’s New Yorker. It begins with his first book, the classic autobiography highlighting his blindness, Face to Face, and goes on to feature, among others, his iconic books about India and his great family saga Continents of Exile. Each entry comes with a reflection by Mehta. Authoritative and illuminating, The Essential Ved Mehta is not just an introduction to this seminal writer but also a passionate record of a writer looking back upon his own work.
Sub title: Despatches from a Europe in Crisis
In 2009, after several years in China, journalist Pallavi Aiyar moved to Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union, to discover a Europe plagued by a financial crisis, and unsure of its place in a world where new Asian challengers are eroding its old and comfortable certainties. With a lively mix of memoir, reportage and analysis, Aiyar takes the reader on a romp across the continent as she meets workaholic Indian diamond merchants in Antwerp, upstart Chinese wine barons in Bordeaux, Sikh farmhands in the Italian countryside, and Indian engineers running offshore energy turbines in Belgium.
In the Europe of today everything is in flux, as she discovers through conversations with Muslim immigrants struggling to define their identities, the austere bosses of Germany’s world-beating companies, and bewildered Eurocrats struggling to save the EU from splitting apart. Examining the diverse challenges the continent faces today—among them, bloated welfare states, the accommodation of Islam, the European ambitions of Indian and Chinese entrepreneurs, and the fissures that threaten to break up this union of diverse nations—Punjabi Parmesan takes a panoramic look at Europe’s first-world crisis from a unique India–China perspective.
Sub title: My Life in Letters and Code
Vikram Chandra has been a computer programmer for almost as long as he has been a novelist. In this extraordinary book he returns to his early days as a writer, when he was beginning Red Earth and Pouring Rain, and looks at the connections between these two worlds of art and technology. Coders are obsessed with elegance and style just as writers are but do the words mean the same thing to both? And is it a coincidence that Chandra is drawn to two seemingly opposing ways of thinking? To answer his questions, Chandra delves into the writings of Abhinavagupta, the tenth- and eleventh-century Kashmiri thinker, and creates an idiosyncratic history of coding. Part literary theory, part tech story and part memoir, Mirrored Mind is a book of sweeping ideas. It is a heady and utterly original work.
A Home in Tibet
When her mother dies in a car accident along a great highway in India, far from her country and her family, Tsering decides to take a handful of her ashes to Tibet. She arrives at the foothills of her mother’s ancestral home in a nomadic village in East Tibet to realize that she had been preparing for this homecoming all her life. Everything is familiar to her, especially the flowers of the Tibetan summer. She understands then the gift her mother had bequeathed her: the love of a land.
A Home in Tibet is a daughter’s haunting tribute to a mother and a homeland. A story about the love between a mother and a daughter who only had each other as family and refuge, it gestures to the journeys made by those exiled from their lands, and the dreams of daughters.
The Mirror of Beauty
It is the sunset of the Mughal Empire. The splendour of imperial Delhi flares one last time. The young daughter of a craftsman in the city elopes with an officer of the East India Company. And so we are drawn into the story of Wazir Khanam: a dazzlingly beautiful and fiercely independent woman who takes a series of lovers, including a Navab and a Mughal prince—and whom history remembers as the mother of the famous poet Dagh. But it is not just one life that this novel sets out to capture: it paints in rapturous detail an entire civilization.
Beginning with the story of an enigmatic and gifted painter in a village near Kishangarh, The Mirror of Beauty embarks on an epic journey that sweeps through the death-giving deserts of Rajputana, the verdant valley of Kashmir and the glorious cosmopolis of Delhi, the craft of miniature painting and the art of carpet designing, scintillating musical performances and recurring paintings of mysterious, alluring women. Its scope breathtaking, its language beguiling, and its style sumptuous, this is a work of profound beauty, depth and power.
The Black Coat
It is the 1970s. After a bloody struggle, Bangladesh is an independent nation. But thousands are pouring into Dhaka from all over the country, looking for food and shelter. Among them is Nur Hussain, an uneducated young man from a remote village, who is only good at mimicking a famous speech of the prime minister's. He turns up at journalist Khaleque Biswas’s doorstep, seeking employment. Initially Nur is a burden for Khaleque, but then Khaleque, who has recently lost his job, has the idea of turning Nur into a fake Sheikh Mujib. With the blessings of the political establishment, he starts cashing in on the nationalist fervour of the city’s poorest. But even as the money rolls in, the tension between the two men increases and reaches a violent climax when Nur refuses to stick to the script.
Intense yet chilling, this brilliant first novel is a meditation on power, greed and the human cost of politics.
A paying guest seems like a win-win proposition to the Joshi family. He’s ready with the rent, he’s willing to lend a hand when he can and he’s happy to listen to Mrs Joshi on the imminent collapse of our culture.
But he’s also a man of mystery. He has no last name. He has no family, no friends, no history and no plans for the future.
The siblings Tanay and Anuja are smitten by him. He overturns their lives. And when he vanishes, he breaks their hearts.
Elegantly wrought and exquisitely spare, Cobalt Blue is a tale of rapturous love and fierce heartbreak told with tenderness and unsparing clarity.
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
What does it take for you to climb from complete poverty to a mansion, bullet-proof car and bodyguards? Twelve simple rules . . .
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is the story of a young boy, born into a poor family. As the years pass, he moves to a slum in the city, gets a brief education, flirts with militancy, and then, hungry for advancement, sets up a bottled water business, the ultimate symbol of the modern South Asian city—a place where nothing works but everything can be had at a price. But as he leaves his past behind, one thing remains constant and true—his love for the girl he met as a teenager.
Told through the conventions of a self-help guide to becoming rich, this is a dazzling and virtuoso novel from the acclaimed author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.