Books of the week: From The Deoliwallahs to Aparna Vaidik's history of lynching in India, our picks

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

Aarushi Agrawal February 16, 2020 10:33:17 IST
Books of the week: From The Deoliwallahs to Aparna Vaidik's history of lynching in India, 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 — 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 The Deoliwallahs to Aparna Vaidiks history of lynching in India our picks

– FICTION

Chats with the Dead
By Shehan Karunatilaka
Penguin Random House India | Rs 599 | 400 pages

Award-winning Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka’s second book follows the ghost of war photographer Maali Almeida, who must solve his own murder. Set in 1989 amid the civil war, the mystery is a dark comedy that takes readers through the afterlife and the different beings hanging around there; the living, who are too caught up in their issues; the war memories that keep coming back to Maali; and a final twist about his killer.

Read more about the book here.

Suralakshmi Villa
By Aruna Chakravarti
Pan Macmillan India | Rs 650 | 313 pages

Academic and author Aruna Chakravarti’s latest book follows Suralakshmi Choudhury, a 31-year-old Delhi-based gynaecologist who falls in love, gets married, and has a son. Five years later, she suddenly abandons everything and goes to an obscure Bengal village to open a free clinic. She also leaves her son but takes along a Muslim girl she has adopted. Through accounts of her relatives, memoirs, and flashbacks, more of her character is brought to light and the story comes together.

Read more about the book here.

The Cliffhangers
By Sabin Iqbal
Aleph Book Company | Rs 499 | 184 pages

Journalist Sabin Iqbal’s debut novel follows the rape of a tourist in Kadaloor, a village on the southern coast of the country, on New Year’s Eve. The chief suspects are a group of teenage boys called Cliffhangers. As they try to prove their innocence, they also deal with the communal intolerance dividing Hindu and Muslim fishermen and villagers. Amid this growing tension and hunt for the rapist, the village starts to propel toward disaster.

Read more about the book here.

– NON-FICTION

My Son’s Inheritance: A Secret History of Lynching and Blood Justice in India
By Aparna Vaidik
Aleph Book Company | Rs 499 | 192 pages

Researcher Aparna Vaidik’s book is an exploration of lynching and the larger culture of violence inherent in India. She demonstrates how violence is embedded in our myth, literature, and language, and delves into family history to show how widespread violence is in Indian society. She also challenges the idea that nonviolence and tolerance are the essence of Indian culture, arguing that perpetrators are not just the powerful but everyone who, through silence and indifference, encourages violence.

Read more about the book here.

Superhuman River: Stories of the Ganga
By Bidisha Banerjee
Aleph Book Company | Rs 499 | 256 pages

Ethical leadership coach Bidisha Banerjee’s debut book is a result of 10 years of exploring the river Ganga from its source to the sea, presenting a fresh perspective on different aspects of the river. From being worshipped as a goddess to creating the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove system on earth, and sustaining five million livelihoods along its banks, it’s one of the most important — and polluted — rivers in the world. Over five years after launching the Namami Gange project in 2014, the Narendra Modi government has made little or no progress in rejuvenating the river. Will the Ganga ever be clean?

Read more about the book here.

The Deoliwallahs: The True Story of the 1962 Chinese-Indian internment
By Joy Ma, Dilip D’Souza
Pan Macmillan India | Rs 650 | 248 pages

Writers Joy Ma and Dilip D’Souza narrate the account of the five-year-internment of 3,000 Chinese-Indians after the 1962 Sino-Indian war, in a disused WWII POW camp in Rajasthan. A page of Indian history largely forgotten today, the book records these stories through extensive interviews with seven survivors. It also documents how the Chinese came to India, made the country their home, and developed a significant community until the 1962 displacement and tragedy.

Read more about the book here.

Sebastian and Sons: A Brief History of Mrdangam Makers
By TM Krishna
Context | Rs 799 | 376 pages

Carnatic vocalist and writer TM Krishna presents a history of the mridangam and meets the makers of this instrument integral to the Carnatic stage. While several artists have been credited with the instrument’s evolution, none had knowledge of one fundamental aspect — the hide. Many of the makers are from the Dalit Christian communities and remain on the fringes of the Carnatic sphere. The book explores the world of these artists, their history and lived experiences, to arrive at a more holistic understanding of the music that the mridangam makes.

Read an interview with the author here.

 

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