Books of the week: From Jeet Thayil's Low to Nandita Das' Manto and I, Indian books to look forward to in 2020

  • We love stories and there is nothing like a good book that promises a couple of hours of absorption.

  • As we enter 2020, we have a succinct pick of books, across diverse genres, releasing this year, for your reading pleasure.

  • Happy reading!

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. As we enter 2020, we have a succinct pick of books, across diverse genres, releasing this year, 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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 Books of the week: From Jeet Thayils Low to Nandita Das Manto and I, Indian books to look forward to in 2020

– FICTION

Low
By Jeet Thayil
Faber & Faber | Rs 599 | 320 pages

Musician, poet, and editor Jeet Thayil’s upcoming novel Low follows Dominic Ullis, who has escaped to Bombay, following the death of his wife. After snorting the last of his wife’s ashes, he’s on the search for a new drug, Meow Meow, and for oblivion. So begins a weekend during which he’s making his way through the city, meeting people with stories of their own.

Read more about the book here.

Amnesty: A Novel
By Aravind Adiga
Simon & Schuster | Rs 499 | 272 pages

Man Booker Prize awardee Aravind Adiga’s Amnesty is a suspense novel about an illegal immigrant, Danny, previously Dhananjaya Rajaratnam, living in Sydney, who was denied refugee status when he fled from Sri Lanka. After three years, he’s finally coming close to having a normal life. But one morning, he learns of a murder and knows he can provide helpful information. He now wrestles with whether to come forward and risk deportation or stay quiet.

Read more about the book here.

Funeral Nights
By Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih
Westland Publications | Rs TBA | TBC pages

Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih, a poet and writer belonging to the Khasi tribe, writes in both Khasi and English, and in his debut novel Funeral Nights, he details the rich culture of his Meghalaya tribe. When a Khasi man dies, his family and friends gather together and exchange stories about the man, their past and legends, land and community, also providing insight into the rituals and customs of their tribe.

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line
By Deepa Anappara
Penguin Random House India | Rs 499 | 320 pages

Journalist and writer Deepa Anappara’s debut novel Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line follows nine-year-old Jai, who excessively watches reality police shows and considers himself smarter than his friends Pari and Faiz. When a classmate goes missing, the three of them band together and decides to use the crime-solving skills Jai picked up from television to find him. Soon however, more children start to disappear. Drawing on real incidents of disappearances in metropolitan India, the novel takes readers on a tumultuous, suspenseful journey.

Read more about the book here.

The Lion of Kashmir
By Siddhartha Gigoo
Rupa Publications | Rs 295 | 268 pages

Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner Siddhartha Gigoo’s upcoming novel follows Zooni, a human rights activist, who has returned home upon learning that her father Commandant Abdul Aziz has disappeared. He is reputed as a legendary police officer in the region, though not always for good reasons. Unimaginable events unfold the following night at a safe house, where she’s forced to stay, and must confront disturbing truths about her life, and those of her father and half-brother.

Read more about the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

Manto and I
By Nandita Das
Aleph Book Company | Rs 2,999 | 264 pages

In Manto and I actor, director, and activist Nandita Das opens up about the creative, emotional, political, and spiritual experiences she had during the six years she spent with Manto. She tells a story different from her second directorial venture Manto, talking of a more personal journey, and also detailing the excitement and challenges of making the film.

Read more about the book here.

Love Jihad
By Mihir Srivastava and Raul Irani
Westland Publications | Rs TBA | TBC pages

Journalists Mihir Srivastava and Raul Irani document, through this photo-heavy book, the one year they spent travelling in and around Meerut, Agra, Deoband, Kairana, and Mathura. They leave behind their ideologies and politics, exploring Uttar Pradesh in all its shades, finally emerging with experiences, thoughts, and hope for the country.

– NON-FICTION

Out of Line and Offline: Queer Mobilizations in '90s Eastern India
By Pawan Dhall
Seagull Books | Rs 499 | 152 pages

Queer rights activist and writer Pawan Dhall’s Out of Line and Offline focuses on queer people grouping and gathering in the 1990s and early 2000s, before the internet had reached most of India and when the community was still criminalised. The book documents the life stories of a few of these individuals and their allies from Eastern India, through interviews, archives, and research. It also talks about how such mobilisation affected the queer movement in the long term.

Read more about the book here.

Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Resilience: Real Accounts from War Torn Zones
By Dr Meha Dixit
SAGE Publishing | Rs TBA | TBC pages

Researcher Meha Dixit’s book explores life in war and conflict zones likes Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Kashmir. Through field research, she uncovers the human narrative of everyday conflict, also understanding how they cope with pain, suffering, and uncertainty. She looks at these stories through the lens of psycho-social trauma, highlighting the role of community in building coping mechanisms.

Ayo Gurkhali: The Gurkha Story
By Tim I Gurung
Westland Publications | Rs TBA | TBC pages

A member of the British Gurkhas from the age of 17 and having served in the British army for 13 years, Tim I Gurung uses archives and his personal experiences to write about the life and experiences of a Gurkha. The Gurkhas, a 200-year-old institution from the Nepalese hillsides, are renowned the world over for their bravery. The book deals with their history, and its effect on the community as a whole.

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Updated Date: Jan 05, 2020 10:33:37 IST