The Windfall: Advance copies of Diksha Basu’s second novel about newly rich Indians in Gurgaon are already the subjects of red-hot recommendations and artful Instagram posts on our timeline. In bookstores by the time you finish reading this list. Bloomsbury India.
A State Of Freedom: Neel Mukherjee’s next novel is about displacement and migration, but apparently, not in the way you’re thinking. “The most astonishing and brilliant novel I have read in a long, long time,” says Hanya Yanagihara. Penguin Random House (PRH) India.
The Lovers: Amitava Kumar returns to fiction in a book with a man called Kalashnikov, and the intellectual and emotional upheaval of life on an American university campus. Aleph Book Company.
A Life Of Adventure & Delight: After a string of underwhelming New Yorker essays, Akhil Sharma (thankfully) returns to fiction with eight stories about Indians at home and abroad. PRH India.
Where India Goes: Two American academics research the unsanitary story of why India has such a problem with toilets, and come up with some tough answers. By Diane Coffey and Dean Spears. Harper Collins India.
Shiva’s Drum: Chandrasekhara Kambar, the Kannada colossus who keeps literary liberals awake at night, wrote this novel in dread of what the destruction of agriculture would do to life in India. Translated by Krishna Manavalli. Speaking Tiger.
Margot — Sister Nivedita of Vivekananda: Historian Reba Som delivers a biography of the fascinating woman who was inspiration to the Tagores (Rabindranath and Abanindranath both), a supporter of JC Bose, and shared the most intense of connections with Vivekananda. PRH India.
In The City A Mirror Wandering: Upendranath Ashk, “the Proust of Indian literature,” returns to English bookshelves in a new translation by Daisy Rockwell. This novel is set in 1930s Jalandhar and unfolds over the course of a single day. PRH India.
Hic!: Delightful children’s author Anushka Ravishankar teams up with illustrator Christiane Pieper to make a book about what to do when you get the hiccups! (It’s also printed using a method that employs soy-based organic inks — safe for a tot, and you, to sniff.) Tara Books.
Home Fire: Kamila Shamsie’s new novel that features a family “ripped apart by secrets” — we’re already sold — is said to tackle big, ambitious questions about love and justice, and apparently made Peter Carey wish he was more like her. Bloomsbury India.
Footprints On Zero Line — Writings On The Partition: Rakshanda Jalil collects and translates Gulzar's extensive literary engagement with the Batwara, which he witnessed first-hand as a child, and has addressed in his fiction, non-fiction and poetry over the years. Harper Collins India.
Remnants Of A Separation: Aanchal Malhotra’s Museum Of Lost Objects, which chronicles Partition through its material objects, now presents its incredibly moving histories and research in book form. Harper Collins India.
Bombay Fever: Arsenal fan and stitch-inducingly hilarious comic writer Sidin Vadukut turns his hand to thriller writing in a novel about a terrible contagion spreading fast. Simon & Schuster India.
The Last Vicereine — A Novel: Because we’ll read anything with Edwina Mountbatten in it. Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang. PRH India.
The Greatest Urdu Short Stories: Translated and edited by Muhammad Umar Memon. What’s not to love? Aleph Book Company.
God Of Money: Never too soon to introduce the child in your life to Karl Marx, right? Artist Marcus Guardiola visually interprets the text of ‘The Power Of Money,’ first published 1844. (“If money is the bond binding me to human life, binding society to me, connecting me with nature and man, is not money the bond of all bonds? Can it not dissolve and bind all ties? Is it not, therefore, also the universal agent of separation?”) Tara Books.
Republic Of Rhetoric: Bombay High Court advocate Abhinav Chandrachud addresses India’s constitutional problem with free speech through a book we’re told will offer “unique, unprecedented arguments.” PRH India.
Empire: The most exciting-sounding work of historical fiction this year, Devi Yesodharan’s novel explores the gender-bending military dynamics of the Chola Empire, where women used to be royal bodyguards. Juggernaut Books.
Guldaar, A Novel Of Espionage: Stephen Alter’s new book deserves to be on this list for the name alone; but we really want to know how Guldaar, the “leopard” with an empire of crime in the Himalayan foothills, is going to do in a fight against India’s good guys — intelligence agents. Speaking Tiger.
The Golden House: The new Salman Rushdie novel is almost upon us. A “modern-day thriller” about a family haunted by a tragedy, this asks, among other things, “where we were before 26/11, where we are and how we got here.” PRH India.
Miss Laila Armed And Dangerous: A building collapses in Mumbai. An intelligence agent starts to shadow a young Muslim teenager. Manu Joseph satirises modern India in “bitingly particular” form. Harper Collins India.
Walking Is A Way Of Knowing: A city-slicker visits a forest inhabited by the Kadars, a small, indigenous South Indian community, and learns all about the rich, tangled tropical forests they call home. Written and illustrated by Manish Chandi, Madhuri Ramesh and Matthew Frame. Tara Books.
When The Moon Shines By Day: Nayantara Sahgal walks among us again, this time with a novella about which we, frustratingly, know nothing. Speaking Tiger.
The Demon Of Cawnpore: We had no idea this Jules Verne novel existed until it popped up on this year’s lists, to be released in India for the first time (and, the publisher assures us, with stunning illustrations). Pan Macmillan India.
Silent Sentinels Of Ranthambore: Bina Kak, former tourism minister of Rajasthan and conservation enthusiast, photographs and writes about the history and characteristics of the tiger families of Ranthambore. Roli Books.
The Best Baker In The World: Film critic Raja Sen makes his debut as a writer of fiction. In the first of a proposed series, he recreates the story of The Godfather as a “wild and whimsical tale” for children. PRH India.
Note By Note — The Great Indian Playlist: Four journalists pick a Hindi movie song for each year in the life of independent India to describe India’s contemporary history through Bollywood music. By Mini Kapoor, Seema Chishti, Ankur Bharadwaj and Sushant Singh. Harper Collins India.
Water: The great Gond artist Subhash Vyam adapts a fable about water to write (and draw) about our increasingly precarious relationship to the elements. Tara Books.
My Daughter's Mum: Mint columnist Natasha Badhwar writes a series of personal essays about the heavy stuff -- parenting, marriage, faith, selfhood and more. Simon & Schuster India.
Bhopal Connections: Pakistani diplomat and cricket administrator Shahryar Muhammed Khan spent the first decade of his life in Bhopal, central India, as a young member of its royal family. In this memoir, he tells ten stories from his fascinating childhood on this side of the border. Roli Books.
An Ordinary Life: Nawazuddin Siddiqui went from being manager of a petrochemical factory in Haridwar to a watchman in Delhi to the award-winning actor in Mumbai whose Gangs Of Wasseypur dialogues you now quote from memory. This is co-written with journalist Rituparna Chatterjee. PRH India.
The Most Dangerous Place: A Srinath Raghavan book is always an event. In this new work, the historian charts the United States’ involvement in South Asia between 1784 and the present day. PRH India.
Dreamers: Journalist and bpb contributor Snigdha Poonam’s eagerly-awaited account of the demographic dividend focuses on lives of young Indians from around the country. (Remember this essay? It was part of her research.) PRH India.
The Boys Who Fought: A Mahabharata for children by Devdutt Pattanaik, with the best title for a Mahabharata book we’ve seen yet. PRH India.
The Killing Of Mohammad Akhlaque: Journalist Mohammad Ali breaks down the events leading up to the horrific 2015 lynching of an elderly Muslim man on the pretext of his family keeping beef in their fridge. Juggernaut Books.
The Well: Perumal Murugan has a new collection of short stories out, translated from the Tamil by the sharp, nimble pen of N Kalyan Raman. Juggernaut Books.
The RTI Story (working title): Written by Aruna Roy and her team, this book tells the story of the transformative Right To Information Act using records, anecdotes, even the songs they used to carry their message out from the little village in Rajasthan where they first began their work. Roli Books.
Travels Through South Indian Kitchens: The Japanese illustrator Nao Saito uses photos, architectural drawings and sketches to make a book about food, conversation and space in the kitchens of Tamil Nadu. Tara Books.
How To Travel Light: Journalist Shreevatsa Nevatia’s memoir of mental illness — “half confession, half joyride” — is remarkable for how many jealous editors we’ve heard wishing they’d gotten their hands on it. PRH India.
Djinn City: Magic realism from Bangladesh! Do djinns exist? Two human boys caught up in the middle of a sensational controversy in the djinn world would laugh at you for asking the question. By Saad Z Hossein. Aleph Book Company.
Jasoda: The new Kiran Nagarkar novel is an epic tale about a woman journeying from a drought-stricken home to “the city on the sea” while her husband stays behind. Will she return one day? Harper Collins India.
The Book Of Chocolate Saints: Jeet Thayil’s long-awaited second novel — featuring a bewitching character from his first — is here. Praise be. Aleph Book Company.
[Untitled]: The very endearing Ravinder Singh, darling of India’s mass market, returns with yet another novel about love and its extreme demands on his characters. PRH India.
The Nine-Chambered Heart: A fresh installment of the elegant, richly emotional writing of Janice Pariat, this is a short novel about a woman and nine people who love her. Harper Collins India.
Nuskha-e Shahjahani: Jahanpanah? More like Jahanpa-nom. The cookbook compiled by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan finds an English translator in Salma Hussain and some fabulous miniatures for illustration. Hussain not only provides the original recipes in English, but also helpfully decodes their measurements and suggests modified ingredients so you can cook from it. Roli Books.
When I Hid My Caste: Jerry Pinto’s translations from modern Marathi literature are now among the signal highlights of the reading year in India. This month, he translates Baburao Bagul’s landmark collection of short stories. Speaking Tiger.
To The Moon We Go — Miss Malini Book 1: How Malini Aggarwal became extraordinary. You know you want to. Harper Collins India.
Second Class Citizens: What happened to the survivors of 2002’s horrific anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat? Former civil servant and activist Harsh Mander follows up on a long quest for justice. PRH India.
The Skull Of Alum Bheg: A fascinating episode of history is re-opened when a skull discovered in an English attic is found to be that of a soldier executed for his role in the 1857 uprising. No, this isn’t fiction! By Kim Wagner. PRH India.
Dancing With The Nation — Courtesans In Bombay Cinema: Who could resist a book about movie #tawaifs — and who, upon hearing it’s by Ruth Vanita, could continue to resist? Speaking Tiger.
The Golden Horse: Not to be mixed up with Sir Salman’s title; this is a translation of the Assamese classic Makam, which ranges the origins of the tea industry in the 19th century to the Indo-Chinese war of ’62. Pan Macmillan India.
Pretty Vile Girl: A tiny choli and a girl named Jazmeen form the central characters of this novel. Might first-time novelist Rickie Khosla be the Jackie Collins of his generation, as his publisher suggests? Bloomsbury India.
Death At The Durbar: A murder mystery set in the great Delhi Durbar of 1911. The death is grisly, the show is in danger of collapsing, and the detective to save it all is Maharaja Sikander Singh of Rajpore. By Arjun Gaind. Harper Collins India.
The Great Indian Restaurant: An unusual, in-depth look at the histories and businesses behind thirty of India’s most iconic restaurants. By Jayanth Narayanan and Priya Bala. Harper Collins India.
The Perils Of Being Moderately Famous: A dozen personal essays by Soha Ali Khan; we can’t tell you why we have a good feeling about this one, but we do. PRH India.
A Legal Handbook For Women: So you can throw the book, both literally and figuratively, in arguments over all kinds of basic rights for women covered by law and the Indian Penal Code. Pan Macmillan India.
The Dhoni Touch: The Indian Express’ elegant cricket correspondent Bharat Sundaresan writes the “definitive” biography of MS Dhoni, which hopefully means we get to know a bit more about him than how much he loves motorcycles. PRH India.
Scene 75: A new Rahi Masoom Raza translation, this time a short novel about the Bombay film industry of the 1970s, told in kisse-ke-andar-kissa — a story within a story — format. Translated by Poonam Saxena. Harper Collins India.
Coming Out As Dalit: Journalist Yashica Dutt set the Indian internet alight with a personal essay about making her Dalit identity publicly known after the suicide of Rohith Vemula. Her new memoir is a deeper look at negotiating caste in a society built on the practice, but determined to ignore it. Aleph Book Company.
Austenistaan: The Jane Austen Society of Pakistan produces a collection of stories based on their monthly meetings about how much elite society in their country resembles life in Regency England. Edited by Laaleen Sukhera. Bloomsbury India.
Tropical Detective: Zac O’Yeah’s intrepid hero, Hari Majestic, leaves South India for Sweden, looking for a mysterious idol, in the third Mr Majestic thriller. Pan Macmillan India.
The Complete Short Stories (Box Set): All of Premchand’s afsanas, edited and translated by the great M Asaduddin. Merry Christmas! PRH India.
Image: Mughal miniature from the 'Padshahnama.'
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