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Archive for the ‘Indian Diaspora Writing in English’ Category


Bloodline Bandra
Godfrey Joseph Pereira | Harper Collins | Rs 350

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 9.16.17 PMThis is a story that belongs to late-1980s. A time when Bandra was a village populated with ‘Cat-licks’ who spoke a quaint version of ‘bleddy’ English. “I wanted to capture the sarcasm, the humour, the double entendre, the innuendo…its bloody brilliant,” writes Pereira. But this is only one part of the novel. The second part, details the ‘legal slavery’ of Indians working in New York. “Part II is a searing scream of anguish…of the Indians whose voices have been castrated by other Indians,” says Pereira. Honestly told, it’s a book that will thrill and chill you.

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Beauty At Your Fingertips
Dr Nirmala Shetty | Westland | Rs 295

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 9.16.54 PMThe back flap tells us that Dr Nirmala Shetty is a renowned naturopath and that she has ‘officially’ attended to Miss India International and Miss India World contestants. Flip the book. Search acne. Adolescents should not burst pimples, says Shetty. “They should also avoid shellfish, prawns, cashew nuts, iodized salt, coffee, tea and sugar.” That’s quite a strange statement to make for teenagers. But then, Dr Shetty, we are assured, knows what she’s writing about. Her cure for acne includes Neem and mint leaves! What’s new about this ageless home recipe?

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Whisper the Dead
Alyxandra Harvey | Bloomsbury | Rs 350

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 9.17.11 PMSecond book in the Lovegrove series introduces the reader to Gretchen, one of the three witches in Mayfair, London. Gretchen is a whisperer, a girl who can hear other witches in her head. Sometimes they make so much noise that her ears start to bleed. Gretchen, Emma and Penelope – are the three cousins whose job is to keep the terrible Greymalkin Sisters from rising again. In the first book, ‘Breath of Frost’, Emma had them bottled. She was the star of the story. Now Gretchen has to avert the doom. Fun read.

(The above reviews appeared in Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 4 January 2015.)

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Six Meters of Pavement
Farzana Doctor | Rupa | Rs 295

In Six Meters of Pavement the author integrates the life of three characters to tell a story about loss and redemption. In it we meet Ismail Boxwala, a middle-aged Toronto resident, who can never forgive himself for causing his daughter’s death, his neighbour, Celia and a young bisexual woman Fatima Khan around whom the plot is built. Kicked out of her home for her ‘perverted’ lifestyle, Fatima approaches Ismail to mediate with her conservative Indian parents. This book, her second novel after Stealing Nasreen, won Farzana Doctor, a Canadian writer based in Toronto, the 2012 Lambda Literary Award in the lesbian fiction category.

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I Heart New York
Lindsey Kelk | HarperCollins | £ 6.99

This picture perfect teen novel encourages young women a change of scene to overcome their love troubles. In this case the heroine moves from London to New York to re-invent her life. While in England she does pretty little in New York she hits the web with a daily blog about her sex life. It gets her the attention she craves and of course, a job with a magazine. In between we are treated to sightseeing trips in and around New York. This is Kelk’s third book in the series after I Heart Hollywood and I Heart Paris.

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Content is Currency
Jon Wuebben | Nicholas Brealey Publishing | Rs 595

In Content is Currency, web strategist Wuebben explains the fine art of content development and marketing by utilising Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) techniques. “From what I’ve seen in the business world 80 per cent of businesses know only limited amount about the web and mobile content and how it affects them, no matter what they may think they know,” he says in the opening chapter of the book. Each of the chapters offers an overview of a ‘content type’, industry trends, best practices, how-to advice and case studies. Useful for any business, you may be engaged in.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 15 July 2012)

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Black Bread White Beer
Niven Govinden | Fourth Estate, Harper Collins | Rs 350

Hanif Khureshi told the story of his generation. Govinden hits on his. In My Beautiful Launderette written in 1985 Khureshi tackled race in a tactful and humorous way. Years down the line Govinden sees no humour. In Black Bread White Beer, his loathing and empathy for the other is almost Roth-like in its embrace “… lippy girls who told him he never did anything right, until he got out his credit card”. An unnerving novel that deserves to be read by anyone interested in race relations in modern day England, told from a perspective of a second generation Indian who is, to put it simply, rabidly honest.

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The Thread
Victoria Hislop | Headline Review | Rs 350

Set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean, The Thread, tells the story of three generations of an orthodox Greek family settled in Thessaloniki after the break out of the Greek civil war in the 1940s. Thessaloniki, says the writer, was a city where “an even mixture of Christians, Jews and Muslims lived”. Three decades later there were only Christians. There is more. Through the decades of upheaval the city served as a concentration camp where the Communists and other radicals were jailed and tortured. This is their story. Her first book, The Island, created ripples both in England and Greece in 2005.

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The Accused
John Grisham | Hodder | Rs 250

Anyone expecting a typical Grisham legal thriller is in for a shock. This is not it. The Accused – a part of the Theodore Boone series – tells a story of a teenager who’s accused of a crime he does not commit. The blurb on the flap bills him as a boy who ‘who knows more than most adult lawyers’. Exciting you could say, particularly for young adults brought up on Harry Potter.  Only there is no death- defying thrill of adventure here, only lessons in law. So if you are looking for a true-blue Grisham fix, wait till fall when his adult thriller The Confession hits the stores.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 10 June 2012)

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Being Ethical
S. Manikutty| IIM Ahmedabad Business Books & Random House| Rs 290

Does business need to be ethically neutral, not unethical, but non-ethical? Asks Manikutty in this smartly brought out reader for the Indian corporate mover and shaker. If the only social responsibility of business is to make profits, is it enough that it is done legally? That is, respecting the laws of the country you work in. What of ethics? To ask the question in another way: Is being ethical good for business? It increases credibility, generates trust, improves relationship with stakeholders, and believe it or not, can reduce cost of litigations, says the author. But is it practical? Tata’s story in India, missing in this book, could have been instructive.

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Suits
Nina Godiwalla| Hatchett India| Rs 395

There were doctors in the family and academics. But no one thought of joining the Wall Street, says Nina, as she chronicles her journey from a public school in Houston, Texas to New York’s most powerful street controlled by Ivy League brains. She arrives with her father’s warning, “A solid American job, with good benefits. Plus, prestige. Be loyal to them!” Says Nina, “I was a quick learner…I copied other people’s behaviour to fit right in.” But she couldn’t shake off her Southern accent, deny her exotic looks or fake her origin. In Texas, she admits, her family was a minority. At Stanley Morgan she was part of a gang that made unflattering comments about minorities. Candid.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, 25 December 2011)

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