Into 2021 and Beyond the Pandemic?
On behalf of the Editorial Board of The Book Review and the Trustees of The Book Review Literary Trust, we wish all our readers a very happy 2021. We bring the first issue of Year XLV of the journal, in print and in digital editions, with a hope that humanity emerges wiser and more mindful of what is owed to nature. The pandemic has shown us that human beings must learn to revere, conserve and protect the natural heritage which we have savaged for so long. While being house bound and living in isolation for months on end have been challenging, people have also learnt to deal with those challenges in uniquely creative ways: enjoying quality time with family, creating music, learning to cook creatively, and to make teaching or working from home truly productive. The young and the old alike have been part of this challenge of making an enforced confinement work without letting its trauma unduly affect minds and bodies.
The pandemic has posed a challenge for The Book Review also. For the first time in 44 years we could not print the journal from April to December. However, despite not too many books being available in print in the initial months, post offices not working to reach the books to reviewers, and when sent, inordinate delay due to the reviewers being afflicted by the virus, every single issue since April 2020 has been published in the digital edition with unfailing regularity and uploaded on the website on the 10th or 11th of every month.
We begin the January issue with an invocation to a timeless prayer and end with a journey towards that spiritual icon of nature, Kailash Mansarovar. And in between we have reviews of books touching upon displacement, loss, pain of parting, of love and longing, and the serious issues of looking back into the pages of history, of how the economy fared before and what the future may hold: ‘before we talk about your return to normalcy, we need to be confident that you were normal in the first place’, as the author of the review article quotes. All aspiring civilizations seek answers to the eternal question: ‘Is Dissent Necessary?’ We bring to our readers an excerpt from Romila Thapar’s book Dissent which highlights some of the issues this question throws up.
We invite all our readers to join our venture to make The Book Review a unique platform to set out opinions, ideas and critiques of all that is available in the world of books.