THE RETURN OF THE KING: SHAH SHUJA AND THE FIRST ANGLO-AFGHAN WAR
Author: William Dalrymple
The title may change, but Dalrymple’s eye for the timely topic certainly hasn’t. As America withdraws from its unsolved problem of Afghanistan, there comes his book on the British empire’s first and disastrously failed bid to exert itself over the Afghan tribes.
AMUL: HOW A LITTLE GIRL BECAME THE TOAST OF THE NATION
How Amul came up with its “utterly butterly” amusing and news-linked daily advertisements.
THE STORY OF INDIAN BUSINESS SERIES
Three books covering three historical eras of Indian business. In Merchants of Tamilakam: Pioneers of International Trade, Kanakalatha Mukund looks at the Pallava and Chola golden age, when India traded with Rome and South-east Asia, and the temple was the fulcrum of the economy. In Arthashastra: The Science of Wealth, Thomas R Trautmann and Gurcharan Das study Kautilya’s famous treatise for clues to the “economic philosophy” of ancient India. In The East India Company: The World’s Most Powerful Corporation, Tirthankar Roy asks how India changed the way the Company worked, and how Indian business changed because of the Company.
BERLIN TO GANDHI
Author: Laxmi Tendulkar Dhaul
In the 1930s an Indian journalist went to Berlin to study. He stayed and married a German. Then he met and married another, divorcing the first. When the Nazis rose, he came home to India and joined the Non-cooperation Movement. Then he met and married a Gandhian activist. This couple went to prison. Their daughter now traces the turbulent lives of her father and the women he loved, and the times in which they lived.
MR MAJESTIC: THE TOUT OF BENGALURU
Author: Zac O’Yeah
Another offbeat, slightly seedy character from the author of Once Upon a Time in Scandinavistan. A smalltime tout helps an unpleasant foreigner to locate her missing sister in this “darkly humorous” crime novel.
THE EXTRAS: THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF RAVAN AND EDDIE
Author: Kiran Nagarkar
Sequel to the widely admired Ravan and Eddie, which is a tale of two boys, one Catholic and one Hindu, both living in a Mumbai chawl, whose fates are linked but who cannot stand each other. In The Extras, Ravan and Eddie have grown up and are ready to be stars.
THE INEXPLICABLE HAPPINESS OF RAJU HAJJAM
Author: Taj Hassan
The low-caste villagers of Tesri work as they have always done for the landowning caste of Bhagatpur next door. Until one day Ramu Hajjam, the local barber, accidentally nicks Subedar Singh’s cheek as he shaves him.
EVERYTHING BEGINS ELSEWHERE
Author: Tishani Doshi
A second volume of austere and unfussy poetry from this noted poet and novelist. Her first collection was the award-winning Countries of the Body.
Author: J Dey
This novel by the murdered reporter echoes his work. Set in the Mumbai underworld, it follows three (fictional) police informers. Shady dealings are underfoot, gang loyalties switch, terror plots are hatched, information is sold — and the men set off to track down the “most wanted” terrorist Riyaz Bhatkal.
BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS
Author: Katherine Boo
In a slum near Mumbai airport, teenager Abdul aims to make his money from recycled waste. Then he will get out of the slum. Tough resident Asha plans to raise herself via political corruption. There are many such aspirers. But then false accusations, terror and a recession hit the city and these people hard. A first novel by this American reporter.
MODA GOA: HISTORY AND STYLE
Author: Wendell Rodricks
A history of Goa’s costumes and textiles, written by its best-known designer.
THE MONK, THE MOOR AND MOSES BEN JALLOUN
Author: Saeed Akhtar Mirza
A second novel by Saeed Akhtar Mirza, director of Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai (1980), among other films. Four students in an American university find a secret diary that reveals something about an 11th-century Muslim woman scholar and her distinguished teacher...
Author: Altaf Tyrewalla, ed.
A collection of noir stories, put together by a noted young writer and featuring new as well as established writers.
BREAKING THE BOW
Author: Anil Menon and Vandana Singh, eds
These 25 stories inspired by the Ramayana begin where the traditional stories end. Expect magic realism, surrealism, robot and cyberpunk, fantasy and science fiction. The writers are from many countries, Holland to Thailand.
Author: Charles Allen
No need to introduce Ashoka. Allen has written lots on the Raj history of India, and lately on the European rediscovery of India’s Buddhist past. Here he writes about how Ashoka’s story was uncovered. The emperor lacks a satisfying biographer — perhaps Allen will help fill this historical hole.
Author: Ajay Navaria
In “Scream”, the lead story in this collection of six stories translated from Hindi, the protagonist journeys from a Dantewada village to Nagpur and then Mumbai. He is raped, works as a masseur and then a gigolo even as he tries to study. The city frees him from his Dalit caste status, but ultimately destroys him.
CELLPHONE NATION: THE MOBILE PHONE’S IMPACT ON INDIAN BUSINESS, POLITICS AND SOCIETY
Author: Robin Jeffrey and Assa Doron
The title says it all. The blurb includes words and phrases like “ubiquitous”, “poverty”, “whole new dynamic”, “penetrating the heart of regional India” and “giving the poorest in the nation a voice”.
A SECOND SUNRISE AND OTHER POEMS
The best poems of this prolific Tamil poet, translated into English. Cheran is a modern — he writes of the Sri Lankan civil war and its effects on people and landscape, on exile and the Tamil diaspora — and yet his work connects him with the 2,000-year tradition of Tamil poetry.