Stephen Alter

Thirty years ago Stephen Alter chose a name – Debrakot, for a hill station in which he depicted the lives of a bunch of people from the Anglo-Indian community. Alter has drawn stories out of their fantasies and fears, hopes and aspirations in the Indo-nostalgic style that is found in his writings.

Reviewed by: Navanwita Bora Sachdev

Bindu Chawla has worked tirelessly to preserve the memories of her father the eminent teacher and vocalist Amarnath. A few years ago she brought out a stately volume Conversations With Pandit Amarnath – a series of interviews that Amarnath informally gave his daughter on vocalism and musicology.

Reviewed by: Partho Datta
Kiran Doshi

Was there ever a diplomat that didn’t wield, A pen so deft it could normally yield A tome on topics as varied as politics or gastronomy, Or the limitations on ambassadorial autonomy? Kiran Doshi has surpassed in verse, Subjects on which one would normally be terse The question is, will it be understood Beyond the civil service brotherhood?

Reviewed by: Gayatri Rangachari Shah
Kaiser Haq

‘Let’s pile up paradoxes.’ These words from “Cosmogony” signal the enigma at the heart of Published in the Streets of Dhaka by Kaiser Haq, for every feature of this motley collection is offset by other elements that contradict it. Spanning forty years of the poet’s creative life,

Reviewed by: Radha Chakravarty
Santanu Kumar Acharya. Translated by Bibhas C. Mohanty and Santanu Kumar Acharya

‘There is a river. In front of it is a house that opens to a limitless horizon’ (p. 5). The novel begins with the description of this ‘limitless’ river on the banks of which is situated the ancestral house of Raghunath Kalama. Both the river and the house have interesting roles to play in the re-exploration of the Kalama family history as well as the Buddha legend.

Reviewed by: Krishna Das
Bani Basu

With this rendering of Bani Basu’s novel Kharap Chhele, published in 2001, Nandini Guha earned Katha Award for translation. A novel that claims to shatter myths, ‘Dark Afternoons’ is about a shocking discovery a woman chances upon as she struggles to make her afternoons meaningful.

Reviewed by: Nikhilesh Yadav
Pandey Bechan Sharma

Recognized as the first original memoir in Hindi, Apni Khabar spans half a century of its authors engagement with the contemporary socio- polity from the vantage point of the problematic of his ‘writings.’

Reviewed by: Ashutosh Mohan
Jhumpa Lahiri

The epigraph by Nathaniel Hawthorne sets the tone of this new short story collection by Jhumpa Lahiri; for human nature to flourish, it must have other birthplaces and strike roots in ‘Unaccustomed Earth’. Lahiri’s collection of short stories falls into two parts.

Reviewed by: Mini Nanda
Hanif Kureishi

There’s a certain kind of writer who should be allowed to grow old only if he promises to do it disgracefully. Many of Hanif Kureishi’s fans would argue that he belongs to this group,

Reviewed by: Nilanjana S. Roy
M. Mukundan. Translated from the Malayalam by Dr. Krishna Aiyer and K.G. Ramakrishnan

M. Mukundan is one of those fiction-writers in India, who, writing in his mother-tongue Malayalam set out to liberate contemporary fiction from the tyranny of the social, the outward, the eventful and to connect it with the existential, the inward, the less audible rhythms of living.

Reviewed by: Ashok Vajpeyi
Ameen Merchant

Ameen Merchant’s debut novel gently tugs at the reader’s heartstrings, stirring one’s compassion for the two sisters torn apart by varying compulsions that engulf their life in a middle class agraharam (Brahmins’ colony) in a provincial town in Tamil Nadu.

Reviewed by: B. Mangalam
Meenakshi Mukherjee

This volume comprises essays that Meenakshi Mukherjee, one of the most respected literary critics of our time, wrote for special occasions, some of them lectures delivered at different places.

Reviewed by: Suguna Ramanathan
Leo F. Saldanha, Abhayraj Naik, Arpita Joshi, Subramanya Sastry

It is unusual for a book which is itself a ‘Review’ to be reviewed by a person with an evident bias in the subject. It is better therefore that the bias is brought up front before readers draw their own conclusions. The reviewer was connected with the formulation of the first notification in 1994 under the Environment Protection Act.

Reviewed by: R. Rajamani
Joseph H. Hulse

The author of this book is a highly respected figure, who, as the blurb tells us, has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in academia and in the field of international development. Given the vast knowledge and wide-ranging experience that have gone into the making of the book,

Reviewed by: Ramaswamy R. Iyer
Nira Wickramasinghe

Let me start this review with a confession: I loved this book. The challenge of writing this review is to write without gushing.

Sri Lanka in the Modern Age sets out to be a different kind of Sri Lankan history; one in which a broad brush-strokes, largely top-down, linear narrative is transformed into an amazing account of human experiences of change—from shoes and sarongs to ways of learning to turf-battles in the corridors of power.

Reviewed by: Swarna Rajagopalan
Shabnum Tejani

Secularism and communalism have long been a staple of Indian politics, certainly after Independence, and have been fiercely debated in recent times with the rise of a variety of fundamentalisms and accusations of “minority appeasement”.

Reviewed by: B.G. Verghese
Jyotindra Jain

It is perhaps due to its ubiquity and our effortless access to popular visual culture in every day life that the ‘critical distance’ necessary to facilitate analysis of the field remains deficient. Popular culture in India characteristically presents itself in infinite,

Reviewed by: Suryanandini Sinha
Erwin Neumayer and Christine Schelberger

The popular print-pictures of late 19th and 20th century India have become the subject of a booming publishing industry.

Reviewed by: Tapati Guha-Thakurta
Rochelle Pinto

Relief and pleasure should greet the work of Rochelle Pinto in the area of Goan studies. Finally we have serious academic research being published and reviewed by mainstream publishers and periodicals.

Reviewed by: Maria Aurora Couto