Clouds: Chandrahas Choudhury’s long-awaited second novel has just hit bookstores. It features a suave Parsi psychotherapist who finds love in Mumbai just as he’s about to relocate to San Francisco, and a young Odiya boy cooped up in a small flat in the city, waiting on two old Odiya Brahmins. Transformations and changes of heart await in this story of “earth and sky, young and old.” Simon & Schuster India.
Small Acts Of Freedom: The young, talented Gurmehar Kaur produces her first book, a story of three generations of women in her family, their strength and the ferocity of love. Penguin Random House India.
Strangers No More: About time. Sanjoy Hazarika’s first book about north-eastern India was called Strangers In The Mist, and became one of the most widely-cited books about the region on the mainland. Hazarika returns to unearth the new ways in which old narratives have come to life in a region where opinions about the rest of India remain divided and complex. Aleph Book Company.
Dreamers: We’re biased, but bpb contributor Snigdha Poonam’s new book, about the lives and hopes of young people in small-town India, is one of the best new works of journalism to come out of the country in years. PRH.
The Barber's Dilemma: Our fave Tara Books’s first publication of the year comes to us via “zany artist” from Tokyo, Koki Oguma, and is a comic caprice with art that had its origins in doodles. “Will delight children aged 8 and above,” the editor confirms. We’re sure. Tara Books.
Pretty Vile Girl: Rickie Khosla’s new novel is supposed to be a “bonkbuster.” Yes, you’re already sold, but wait: the title character is a Bollywood item girl. The froth is rising! Bloomsbury India.
Mother Earth, Sister Seed: It’s not just that author Lathika George went to school with a bpb editor’s mom; it’s that her first book, The Suriani Kitchen, remains one of the finest food books written in India. The new one, about how food is produced by farmers and agrarian communities all over the country, is said to be bursting with great stories. PRH.
How India Became Democratic: Juicy political history and science combine in professor Ornit Shani’s book about how India prepared its electoral rolls on the basis of universal adult franchise. PRH.
The Haunted Horse: Rudyard Kipling’s ghost stories come together in a Greatest Hits edition for (we think) the first time. To be read while this nip in the air (and this lightening smog) lasts. Speaking Tiger.
Jonahwhale: A rare star appears in the heavens — a new collection of poetry from the honestly wonderful Ranjit Hoskote. PRH.
Naishapur and Babylon: To have one new book of poetry from a beloved poet seems like good luck; to have two seems almost suspicious. Keki Daruwalla — who also has a novel due in the coming months! — gifts us a collected edition of his poems from the last decade or so. Speaking Tiger.
The Clay Toy-Cart: Mrchchakatikam, Shudraka’s classic drama about the fates of Vasantasena and Charudatta gets a fresh translation from scholar Padmini Rajappa. PRH.
Auroville: Akash Kapur edits an anthology of writings on India’s favourite ashram. Did someone say “beach read”? PRH.
Indian Cultures as Heritage: Contemporary Pasts: Romila Thapar klaxon! Hated and feared by sections of India’s right wing, Thapar remains one of the most widely-admired historians of ancient India, and a new book about the intersections of heritage and history will soon join her peerless list of books and scholarly journals. Yasss, (democracy-preferring, anti-hierarchical) queen. Aleph.
Eleven Ways To Love: Essays: A Valentine’s Day themed release that, far from being tacky, actually looks fresh and interesting. Unique new voices, including Dhrubo Jyoti and Shrayana Bhattacharya, contribute to an anthology about love and its many splendours. Better than saying it with flowers. PRH.
Jasmine Days: Shahnaz Habib translates a new bestselling Malayalam novel by Benyamin, author of the great and terrifying Goat Days (which you must read this weekend if you haven’t yet). The novel is set against the backdrop of the Arab Spring, and takes places in a fictional city in West Asia, where a young Indian radio jockey gets caught up in the perils and promises of a revolution. Juggernaut Books.
Laid To Rest: Journalist Ashish Ray writes what might be the definitive account of the controversy over the death of Subhas Chandra Bose. It assembles documentation and evidence from the horde of inquiries, commissions and investigations into one of India’s most persistent mysteries, to lay its ghosts to rest once and for all. Bose’s daughter, Anita Pfaff, approves: she’s written the foreword. Roli Books.
AAP & Down: Not a pun that would pass bpb supervision, but Mayank Gandhi’s tell-all about the rise and seeming unravelling of his former party promises to infuse fresh life into our tired headlines. Simon & Schuster.
Where Has The Tiger Gone? The Gond artist Davat Singh Mikey meditates on the tiger tales he heard in his youth, producing a story told in beautiful dramatic art. Tara Books.
Legendary Maps From The Himalayan Club: For 90 years, this British-created institution has led expeditions into the mountains. Now, they’re publishing the most interesting maps made by their explorers, many of whom were literally charting a new course when they first set out on their journeys. With original sketch maps and drawings plus the texts which accompanied these maps when they were first published, this promises to walk tall. Roli Books.
A Century Is Not Enough: We never thought we’d say this, but Sourav Ganguly’s going to have a hard task matching up to Sanjay Manjrekar, whose new memoir, published in December, is one of the most unflinching looks at Indian cricket ever written. Then again, Mr G, “Dada” to millions, did not become a popular idol for his circumspection. Juggernaut.
From Quetta To Delhi: A Partition Story: Reena Nanda documents the story of her mother’s family, which moved fromPunjab to Balochistan in the early 20th century, before being sundered from their home by Partition — approaching this particular tragic history from a wholly fresh perspective and geography. Bloomsbury.
Across The Universe: Journalist Ajoy Bose’s last book was a biography of the notoriously private Mayawati. His new work, an account of the Beatles’ time in India, must have seemed like a breeze in comparison. To be read with Sgt Pepper’s playing backwards, we presume. PRH.
Walking is a Way of Knowing in the Kadars' Forest by Madhuri Ramesh and Manish Chandi, and Speaking to an Elephant and Other Stories with the Kadars by Manish Chandi and Madhuri Ramesh: These two illustrated children’s books engage with a world not many adults know: they tell stories of the Kadars, South India's longest surviving foraging and hunting community. Tara Books.
A Murder On Malabar Hill: A crime story set in 1920s Bombay? Bring it to us in a milkshake so we can drink it with a straw. Even better, it’s by Sujata Massey, noted author of the Rei Shimura detective novel series. PRH.
A Day In The Life: The lovely Anjum Hasan, author of Neti Neti and The Cosmopolitans, returns with her first collection of stories. PRH.
Sanjay Dutt: Ahead of the big Hirani biopic starring “Baba’s” Pali Hill neighbour Ranbir, comes a book about his life by journalist Yasser Usman, whose biography of Rekha last year was full of unprecedentedly honest stories about life in the industry. (Will the new book be “released early for good behaviour,” as one Twitter wiseacre put it?) Juggernaut.
The Short Life and Tragic Death Of Qandeel Baloch: One of Pakistan’s brightest young journalists, Sanam Maher digs deep into a story that appalled the subcontinent last year — a young man’s brutal murder of his sister, the model and celebrity Qandeel Baloch. Aleph.
Coming Out As Dalit: A Memoir: The eloquent Yashica Dutt, who wrote movingly about suppressing, and then coming to terms with entrenched caste discrimination against her family, writes a personal history of what it’s like to know, and have others know, that you are Dalit. Aleph.
Seven Decades of Independent India: You’re already familiar with the elephantine imagination of Vinod “notional loss” Rai, India’s controversial former comptroller and auditor-general. Now read this anthology of essays that he’s edited with scholar Amitendu Palit includes thoughts on the #StateOfTheNation from some of our brainiest dudes, including diplomat Shivshankar Menon and former election commissioner SY Quraishi. PRH.
Indian Myths For Children: With Ramayana translator and all-round brain-box Arshia Sattar writing, the children will have to fight us for this one. Juggernaut.
Pajamas Are Forgiving: Fresh off what is certain to be the Republic Day smash-hit that is Padman, Twinkle Khanna will present us with a new case of Funnybones — a novel about a woman stuck at an Ayurveda retreat with an ex-husband and his nubile new wife. Juggernaut.
Long Form Annual: The Best Of Graphic Fiction & Non-Fiction: Prakash Moorthy, Venkat Shyam, Allen Shaw and other worthies unite for this showcase, whose stories are set everywhere from Rome and Tehran to Kolkata, as well as in imaginary cities and dream-scapes. Edited by Sarbajit Sen, Debkumar Mitra, Sekhar Mukherjee and Pinaki De. Harper Collins.
The Shrine of Death: A beautiful young historian in Chennai, who discovers two priceless tenth century bronzes, goes missing. There’s oodles of fraud, murder and betrayal involved in Divya Kumar’s “chilling” new crime thriller. Bloomsbury India.
Nayak, by Satyajit Ray: Bhaskar Chattopadhyay novelises the classic story of movie idol Arindam, who meets magazine editor Aditi on a train journey, shedding his aura of glamour and becoming a real boy over the course of their conversation. Oh Uttam, oh Sharmila! Harper Collins.
The ISIS Caliphate: Journalist Stanly Johny traces the networks that have connected this radical extremist group in Syria to the peripheries of India and Pakistan, and their rise and fall over the last four years. Bloomsbury India.
The Unseeing Idol Of Light: The brilliant KR Meera’s Hangwoman and The Poison Of Love were so searing, we’ll handle this new translation of another of her novels with protective goggles on. Translated by Ministhy S. PRH.
The McMahon Line: Yep, total dad book — it’s even written by a general, the former Army chief JJ Singh — but isn’t it nice to look forward to a refreshing explanation of the other big boundary dispute in our lives for once, this one with China? Harper Collins.
Half The Night Is Gone: Ask an Indian writer which of their peers they admire most, and chances are Amitabha Bagchi, author of quiet, devastating novels about ordinary Delhi lives, will figure high on their list. Now, Bagchi has produced an epic that his publishers are already betting will be this decade’s A Suitable Boy. “!” did you say? Keep the faith for Lala Motichand and his servant Mange Ram, and the story of how a new Delhi emerged in the twentieth century. Juggernaut.
Bombay Brides: Most Jewish men in Ahmedabad were married to women from Mumbai, and Esther David’s new novel is named for these women. They are voices in a novel about a housing society in Ahmedabad named Shalom India, and the Indian Jews who dwell within. Harper Collins.
The Lord and Master of Gujarat: Not who you think it is. The first installment of KM Munshi’s famous saga, translated by Rita and Abhijit Kothari, was called The Glory of Patan; The Lord and Master, its sort-of sequel, is also Munshi’s most famous novel. PRH.
Superhuman River: Bidisha Banerjee’s much talked-of “biography” of the Ganga is finally here. Hurrah for a subject that seems to otherwise exclusively be covered by white guys and guru types. Aleph.
The Book Of Indian Salads: Genial polymath Pushpesh Pant, one of India’s foremost food historians, collects recipes for the hot season from every corner of the country. We are promised miracles with sabudana and murabba. Bring it on. PRH.
Daughters Of The Sun: Ira Mukhoty’s history of the women of the Mughal empire matches names to stories at last. Mukhoty’s last book, Heroines, featured a fascinating account of the life of one such woman, Jahanara Begum, the paan-chewing, ship-building, stubbornly single daughter of Shah Jahan. Tell us more, Ms Mukhoty. Aleph.
Cyber Sexy: Designated bpb Spine Cool Person Richa Kaul Padte’s new book is about the “intersection of media and sex culture,” and analyses what we talk about when we talk about pornography. In other words, she is preparing a — pr0n cracker. PRH.
The Zero Cost Mission / The Wily Agent: Amar Bhushan’s racy thrillers about brave Indian agents in Bangladesh, doing their bit to save the subcontinent from mortal peril, have already been picked up by Vishal Bhardwaj to adapt to the big screen. Harper Collins.
The Beauty Of All My Days: This new memoir would go on this list just for the elegance of its title, even if it wasn’t by everybody’s schoolday sweetheart Ruskin Bond. PRH.
Frida Folk: Frida Kahlo comes alive in a range of popular artefacts in local markets and shops, across South America and elsewhere, in this story by German scholar Gabriele Franger. Tara Books.
The Dhoni Touch: One of our favourite cricket journalists, Bharat Sundaresan, makes the leap to long-form with a book about how to be as sexy as humanly possible while not knowing what “conflict of interest” means. Like, what else could a Dhoni book be about? PRH.
The Idol Thief: The fascinating story of a high-profile Indian art thief and the glittering trail of crime he left around the art world in India and the United States. By S Vijay Kumar. Juggernaut.
Love In The Time Of Affluenza: The protagonist of Shunali Shroff’s breezy new novel is married to the perfect man, has three lovely children and writes a column, but can’t help but feel that something’s missing from her life. At last, we hope India levels up with Pakistan in its production of smart, funny chick-lit. Bloomsbury India.
“Love & Marriage In India”: Elizabeth Flock writes a book about modern love in Mumbai, tracing the marriages of three young couples who navigate romance and togetherness through unions that are arranged, self-chosen, or something in between. Title to be decided. Bloomsbury India.
Acid: Sangeetha Sreenivasan has been setting ears on fire in the world of Malayalam letters. She now presents, in English, the story of two women who live together, two boys who live on the floor below theirs, and the dark and confusing ties that bind them together. PRH.
Intertwined Lives: Indira Gandhi & PN Haksar: Jairam Ramesh wrote probably the most interesting Indira book to come out last year, an account of the former prime minister’s interest in the natural world. This one promises to be fresher yet: it will delve into the intertwining lives and work of “Induji” and her most trusted adviser, a fascinating man about whom not nearly enough is known — yet. Simon & Schuster.
Love and the Turning Seasons: Andrew Schelling edits an anthology of India’s spiritual and erotic poetry. Batter my heart, three-person’d god. Aleph.
Munafiq: Two-Faced: Extremely unsure of how to feel about a “26/11” thriller, but if anyone’s going to do it, it might as well be the incorrigibly entertaining specialist of Mumbai crime journalism, Hussain Zaidi. Harper Collins.
Shekhar: A Life and Prison Days And Other Poems: Vasudha Dalmia and Snehal Shingavi translate the work of the Hindi writer ‘Agyeya,’ someone you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the months and years to come; we know a major biography of his extraordinary life and writing is in the works as we speak. PRH.
Photo Credit: Venkat Shyam
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