Books of the week: From Khan Mahboob Tarzi's The Break of Dawn to Girish Karnad's memoir, our picks

Our weekly roundup of books that should be on your radar.

Aarushi Agrawal May 10, 2021 10:01:55 IST
Books of the week: From Khan Mahboob Tarzi's The Break of Dawn to Girish Karnad's memoir, our picks

We love stories, and even in the age of Netflix-and-chill, there's nothing like a good book that promises a couple of hours of absorption — whether curled up in bed, in your favourite coffeehouse, or that long (and tiresome) commute to work. Every week, we'll have a succinct pick of books, across diverse genres, that have been newly made available for your reading pleasure. Get them wherever you get your books — the friendly neighbourhood bookseller, e-retail website, chain store — and in whatever form you prefer. Happy reading!

For more of our weekly book recommendations, click here.



The Break of Dawn
By Khan Mahboob Tarzi; translated by Ali Khan Mahmudabad
Penguin Random House India | Rs 399 | 240 pages

Teacher Ali Khan Mahmudabad translates author Khan Mahboob Tarzi’s novel from Urdu. It's set during the time after the revolt of 1857, where some have joined forces to defeat the British while others have chosen to support them. Amidst this is Riyaz Khan, a young soldier who saves a group of Britishers from fellow ‘mutineers’ and leads them to safety in Lucknow. In that group is Alice who falls in love with Riyaz and eventually becomes an informer for the rebels.

Read more about the book here. Read an excerpt from the book here.

By Vishram Bedekar; translated from the Marathi by Jerry Pinto
Speaking Tiger Books | Rs 350 | 216 pages

Author Jerry Pinto translates eminent Marathi writer Vishram Bedekar’s novel, first published in 1939, into English. It follows Herta, who like thousands of other Jews is escaping from Hitler’s Germany to Shanghai. Chakradhar Vidhwans is returning to Mumbai after a stay in England. A chance encounter on a ship leads the two to find and fall in love with each other.

Read more about the book here.

Rukmini: Krishna’s Wife
By Saiswaroopa Iyer
Rupa Publications | Rs 295 | 256 pages

Writer Saiswaroopa Iyer tells the story of Rukmini, often overshadowed by her husband Krishna. Even as her family decided to use her as a pawn, she chose not to bow down to patriarchy. The book details her as a strong bride who made bold choices, not just when eloping, but throughout her life, talking about her as a princess, lover, and goddess.

Read more about the book here.


This Life At Play: Memoirs
By Girish Karnad; translated by Srinath Perur
HarperCollins India | Rs 799 | 320 pages

Translated partly by Girish Karnad and partly by Srinath Perur is cultural giant Karnad’s memoir, covering the first half of his life. It details the time from his childhood in Sirsi to early encounters with local theatre and from his education in Dharwad, Bombay, and Oxford to his career in publishing, the film industry, and as a writer.

Read more about the book here.

Amader Shantiniketan
By Shivani; translated by Ira Pande
Penguin Random House India | Rs 499 | 184 pages

Acclaimed Hindi author Gaura Pant Shivani's (1923-2003) memoir is translated into English by her daughter Ira Pande. It was written nearly 50 years ago and details the days when Shivani was studying at Shantiniketan, the school set up by Rabindranath Tagore. It discusses life in the Ashram and the vivacity of its residents, many of whom went on to become icons in their respective fields.

Read more about the book here. Read an excerpt from the book here.


Marriage: 100 Stories Around India’s Favourite Ritual
By Devdutt Pattanaik
Rupa Publications | Rs 295 | 232 pages

Author Devdutt Pattanaik brings together stories from Vedic, Puranic, Tamil, and Sanskrit literature, from classical, folk, and tribal lore, oral and textual traditions, across 3,000 years of history, and from across the country geographically, to show the diversity and fluidity of Indian customs and beliefs around marriage.

Read more about the book here.

The Book of Indian Ghosts
By Riksundar Banerjee
Aleph Book Company | Rs 599 | 278 pages

Writer Riksundar Banerjee’s book details different ghosts spread across Indian communities and tribes. Some live near water and others sneak up on passers-by. Some seduce lost men and some protect you from evil. The book discusses different types like chudails, mechho bhoots, muni pei, and more. It answers the question “how are we to understand these restless spirits who have permeated our memories, psyches, imaginations, and literatures?”

Read more about the book here.

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