Books of the week: From Aravind Mallagatti's Karya to Ashok Ferrey's The Unmarriageable Man, our picks

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

Aarushi Agrawal April 19, 2021 15:20:59 IST
Books of the week: From Aravind Mallagatti's Karya to Ashok Ferrey's The Unmarriageable Man, 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.

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– FICTION

Budhini
By Sarah Joseph; translated by Sangeetha Sreenivasan
Penguin Random House India | Rs 599 | 256 pages

Sangeetha Sreenivasan translates her mother Sarah Joseph’s novel which tells the story of Budhini. A 15-year-old girl, she’s been chosen to welcome Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with a garland and tikka on his forehead. But these gestures are interpreted as an act of matrimony, and she’s ostracised from the community. Her story is told through Rupi Murmu, a young journalist and her distant relative.

Read more about the book here.

Karya
By Aravind Mallagatti
Penguin Random House India | Rs 399 | 176 pages

Kannada author Aravind Mallagatti tells the story of a procession making its way to the graveyard, on the third day after the death of Bangaravva. A strong wind causes the embers to flare and the sacred ritual fire, which custom says should never touch the floor, falls to the ground. This is followed by chaos, and caste and communal divisions come to the fore, as people try to decide who’s to be blamed and how it’s to be set right.

Read more about the book here.

The Unmarriageable Man: A Novel
By Ashok Ferrey
Penguin Random House India | Rs 399 | 272 pages

Author Ashok Ferry’s novel follows Sanjay de Silva who moves from Colombo to south London in 1980. He meets and falls in love with Janine, a fellow Sri Lankan who the community refers to as a ‘hooker of the very highest class’. He buys an old house in Brixton and soon converts it into two flats. But at night, there are voices in the house.

Read more about the book here.

– SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGIES

The English Teacher and Other Stories
By Kiran Doshi
Speaking Tiger Books | Rs 399 | 232 pages

Writer Kiran Doshi’s collection of 15 stories detail the lives of different women. Among them are Miss Coelho, who’s more concerned with teaching people English than she is bothered by intimidation from the underworld don’s henchmen; Janaki the housemaid who is a demure young woman – or is she? And Asha, who is glued to the television and knows more about Bollywood than even judges at a quiz.

Read more about the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

Beautiful Things: A Memoir
By Hunter Biden
Simon & Schuster India | Rs 699 | 272 pages

Lawyer Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden, details his life, descent into substance abuse, and eventual road to sobriety. From losing his mother and baby sister in a car accident as a child to his big brother because of cancer, Hunter’s challenges were compounded by the collapse of his marriage and a years-long battle with drug and alcohol addiction. The story ends with where he is today, a sober, married man with a new baby.

Read more about the book here.

– NON-FICTION

The War that Made R&AW
By Anusha Nandakumar and Sandeep Saket
Westland | Rs 499 | 256 pages

Writers Anusha Nandakumar and Sandeep Saket tell the story of RN Kao, the founder-chief of India’s Research and Analysis Wing. His goal was to build an Intelligence gathering agency that would ensure the safety of India, and he successfully put Indian Intelligence on the world map. The book also traces the history of modern Indian espionage and talks of how wars are won as much off the battlefield as on it.

– YOUNG READERS

Prince with a Paintbrush: The Story of Raja Ravi Varma
By Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan; Illustrated by Rayika Sen
Red Panda | Rs 250 | 36 pages

With illustrations by Rayika Sen, writer Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan tells the story of Raja Ravi Varma, the father of modern Indian art, who also established the first lithographic press in India. As a seven-year-old, while the other kids played, he was busy painting the walls of his house. His uncle, Rajaraja Varma, took him to the court of the Maharaja of Travancore to study and practice art. And the rest is history.

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