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Posts Tagged ‘crime’


Sky Train
Canyon Sam | Tranquebar | Rs 350

When Canyon Sam first paid a visit to Tibet in 1986 it had just opened its doors to foreign visitors. That was when she started to record women’s oral histories. Twenty-five years later she returned to meet some of the women again. The book at hand is the result of these encounters. In it, through the eyes of the women, Sam recounts the gory days of the Cultural Revolution, its aftermath and the changes wrought by the Chinese in Tibet thereafter. The book won the Pen American Centre Open Book Award in 2010.

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The Clockwork Man
William Jablonsky | Westland | Rs 225

The Clockwork Man is a journal of a robot, Ernst, who’s not human but a machine created by a master clockmaker just before the break out of WWII. It is divided into two parts: the first corresponds to his ‘youth’ in Germany and the latter with his resuscitation 100 years later in present day Milwaukee, US. While in his first avtaar the Clockwork Man is a family man, in the second he emerges as a superhero that grinds criminals and saves the innocent. Through all this the writer looks at crime as inevitable and always present aspect of human existence.

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The Woman Who Flew
Nasreen Jahan | Penguin | Rs 399

To many, Taslima Nasreen is the best-known writer from Bangladesh. Yet few know of her peers, among whom Nasreen Jahan stands out as one of the most important writers of our time. Nasreen Jahan writes in Bangla and reads very little in English. She’s a prolific writer with more than 50 titles to her name. In this book, she paints a candid albeit grim portrait of contemporary Bangladesh, through a story of a young woman who moves from a small town to the megacity and finds herself divorced and thrown into conflict with traditional patriarchy. The book won her the Philips Literary Prize in 1994.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 8 July 2012)

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Mumbai Noir
Ed. by Altaf Tyrewala| Harper Collins | Rs 350

As in the first book, Delhi Noir edited by Hirsh Sawhney that took Delhi under its microscope, Mumbai Noir tells the story of the underbelly of Maximum City. The book is divided by places, events and notions that have shaped its hidden yet, palpable neurosis. Employing the devices of crime fiction and film noir, the stories in the book are divided into three sections: ‘Bomb-ay’, which looks at impact of bomb blasts and crime that scars its body politic; ‘Dangerous Liaisons’, that charts the relationship between the living dead and the newly arrived; and, ‘An Island Unto Itself’ that unspools the dream city. Incisive, heart-wrenching and dark.

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In the Orchard of Swallows
Peter Hobbs | Faber and Faber |Rs 450

Hobbs is a gifted storyteller. In this slim novel, his third after The Short Day Dying and I Could Ride All Day in My Cold Blue Train, he sets a story of love and power in the modern day Swat Valley in Pakistan. The tale is brutal, yet timeless and as beautiful as the garden of life that it seeks to inhabit. A young boy, merely 14 falls in love with a daughter of a local politician. The boy ends up in prison to emerge 15 years later. Life beats to a different drum now, except for the swallows that fly – like dreams – unfettered.

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Two Pronouns and a Verb
Kiran Khalap | Amaryllis| Rs 295

Khalap is a brand consultant who by his own admission enjoys ‘writing, rock climbing and spiritual evolution’. His first novel was Halfway Up the Mountain. This is his second. In it he spins a yarn around three protagonists, Arjun a poet and photographer, Dhruv a social activist working among tribals and an Osho Ashram visitor, a German girl, Eva. The story is set in a Pune wada but moves effortlessly at one point to Goa at another to Mumbai and yet another, tribal hamlet of Nagpur. The three places provide the backdrop to a rather mundane, insipid and uninspiring love-triangle.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 6 May 2011)

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