Books of the week: From Love, Loss, and Longing in Kashmir to the India story of the Panama Papers, our picks

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

Aarushi Agrawal November 18, 2019 10:06:49 IST
Books of the week: From Love, Loss, and Longing in Kashmir to the India story of the Panama Papers, our picks
  • We love stories and there is nothing like a good book that promises a couple of hours of absorption

  • Every Sunday, we will have a succinct pick of books, across diverse genres, that have been newly made available 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. Every Sunday, 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 from — 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 Love Loss and Longing in Kashmir to the India story of the Panama Papers our picks

– FICTION

Paper Moon
By Rehana Munir
HarperCollins India | Rs 299 | 312 pages

A former bookshop owner, columnist Rehana Munir’s novel Paper Moon is about books and romance in Bombay. When Fiza’s estranged father passes away, she finds he has left her a handsome sum of money, hoping she will open a bookstore. Soon, she embarks on the journey of setting up a bookstore, going on book-buying sprees, planning store décor, appointing an unconventional staff, and meeting interesting patrons, as the store Paper Moon comes to life in an old Bandra mansion. She’s also being wooed by a mysterious customer Iqbal, and her ex-boyfriend Dhruv. Amidst it all, Fiza grapples with ways of taking control of her life.

Read more about the book here.

Taboo: A Novel
By Nirmala Govindarajan
Pan Macmillan | Rs 399 | 310 pages

Author and journalist Nirmala Govindarajan’s latest novel Taboo is based on her experience of documenting the lives of under-aged girls who are kidnapped and trafficked. The novel's protagonist, Erendira, starts from the Himalayas and travels through the country, eventually reaching Sri Lanka. Through languages and cultures, she discovers the forbidden identity of sex workers. A story of exploitation and crime, of women imagining freedom — the book chronicles her meetings with the resilient under-age victims of the trafficking network. Govindarajan also raises questions about a democratic society and its politics, and their intent to stop such practices.

Read more about the book here.

Bombay Balchao
By Jane Borges
Westland | Rs 499 | 224 pages

Author and journalist Jane Borges’ debut novel Bombay Balchao is set in Cavel, a small Catholic neighbourhood in the metropolis, and tells different intertwined tales of ordinary lives. From a woman who turns to bootlegging after losing her husband to a dockyard explosion, to a sinking teen romance; from a socially misfit person addicted to crosswords, to a wife trying to exorcise the spirit of her deceased mother-in-law from her husband — the stories are set against the backdrop of an early 19th century Bombay that everyone wanted to come to and call home.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

– MEMOIRS and BIOGRAPHIES

Love, Loss, and Longing in Kashmir
By Sahba Husain
Zubaan Books | Rs 595 | 288 pages

Sahba Husain, an independent researcher travelling through Jammu and Kashmir for the last two decades documents her time in the state in Love, Loss, and Longing in Kashmir. She speaks with and listens to the people living there, being empathetically involved in their lives, and eventually questioning her own identity as ‘Indian’. In the book, she also focuses on key subjects like health, militancy and its evolving meaning for the people, their search for justice, migration, and women’s activism. With the book going to press around the time of the abrogation of Article 370, it ends in the hopes that the people of Kashmir will be able to shape their own future.

Read more about the book here.

The Class of 83: The Punishers of Mumbai Police
By S Hussain Zaidi
Penguin Random House India | Rs 399 | 272 pages

Author and crime reporter S Hussain Zaidi’s The Class of 83 focuses on the most infamous encounters conducted by encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma, and his batch-mates from the Police Training School (PTC). Sharma was known to have restored law in Mumbai at a time when the city was in the grips of underworld gangsters like Dawood Ibrahim, Iqbal Kaskar, and Chhota Rajan. Sharma was later arrested by the very same department he had served for almost two-and-a-half decades, and put in the same cell as the criminals he had arrested. However, he continued to fight for his honour, leading to his subsequent  acquittal and reinstatement into service. Zaidi presents the story of these true events, focusing on Sharma, his victories, and struggles.

Read more about the book here.

– NON-FICTION

The Panama Papers: The Untold India Story of the Trailblazing Global Offshore Investigation
By Ritu Sarin, Jay Mazoomdaar, and P Vaidyanathan Iyer
Penguin Random House India | Rs 599 | 248 pages

In 2016, an anonymous whistleblower leaked 2600 GB of data, comprising a total 11.5 million financial and legal records. 350 journalists from over a 100 organisations working in 25 languages across 80 countries were tracking the investigation for over nine months in complete secrecy. The Panama Papers exposed the crimes and corruption of the rich and powerful using offshore accounts to evade taxes back in their countries. Journalists Ritu Sarin, Jay Mazoomdaar, and P Vaidyanathan Iyer were the only ones from India who participated in this global coalition. In Panama Papers, the trio chronicle their investigative journey, the backstories of their trails, and the denials and intimidation they faced.

Read more about the book here.

Pax Sinica: Implications for the Indian Dawn
By Dr Samir Saran and Akhil Deo
Rupa Publications | Rs 595 | 208 pages

Xi Jinping, after being elevated to the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, quickly gained power and expanded Chinese influence internationally. His desire for the ‘China Dream’ systemically eroded the norm of ‘collective leadership’ in the country, thereby making its global presence more uninhibited. He has worked to reshape the world for the benefit of his Communist Party.

Dr Samir Saran and Akhil Deo of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), one of Asia’s most influential think tanks, offer a retrospective account of how China's rise came to be, and the way in which global powers, especially India, have responded to this phenomenon.

Read more about the book here.

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