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January 02, 2019

7 Books To Look Forward To In 2019

Text by Shubham Ladha

New year, new resolutions and of course, new books

With 2019’s fresh slate (if you’ve managed to finish all the books in your to-read pile), we’re starting a new list of the most awaited books from the subcontinent, releasing soon:

Gun Island, Amitav Ghosh

In his ninth novel (and first after four years), Ghosh expands upon his interest in cli-fi (climate fiction), the troubling effects of which have been shown in films such as The Day After tomorrow (2004)and Geostorm (2017). We’re reintroduced to several characters from his previous work, The Hungry Tide (2004), this time though, set against a vast space and time, where protagonist Deen is forced to set out on a journey across the world to rediscover his ancestral roots, which he feels might go deeper than he knows. Where on one hand it’s the story of the world on the edge of displacement, and on the other, it highlights the resilient journey of a man to find hope for the world.

More information here.

The Forest of Enchantments, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The story of Ramayana is ubiquitously told, especially during Diwali, in households across the country. While most people celebrate the festival with relation to the return of Ram and Sita back to Ayodhya, emphasising the former’s bravery and the latter’s devotion to her husband, Banerjee’s book delves into retelling the tale, but through the perspective of Sita. Her courage and grace are brought to light, especially now, when women’s voices are being heard louder than ever before.

More information here.

We Are Displaced, Malala Yousafzai

While immigration crises from global and border conflicts have made major headlines in the last couple of years, it’s important to remind ourselves that their consequences are still being suffered by the many who were displaced from their homes and countries. This comes from Nobel Peace Laureate, Yousafzai’s new book, tracing her experiences with female refugees at camps and her own time as a refugee, as she survived the Taliban.

More information here.

The Scent of God, Saikat Majumdar

The third novel from Majumdar is set in the early ‘20s, at an elite, monastic all-boys boarding school, where two teenagers discover love for each other. This sexual awakening is accompanied by a spiritual one, all unravelling at the school. It offers up important questions such as “What is the meaning of monastic celibacy?”, and more importantly, will this world allow for such a love to survive, which it doesn’t recognise. We can only wait to know if Majumdar balances the weights of both sexuality and spirituality.

More information here.

A Respectable Woman, Easterine Kire

One of the first English-language novelists emerging out of North-East India, Kire’s work is now making strides for North-East Indian literature into the mainstream. In this book, we’re taken on a woman’s journey in the aftermath of World War II, when the Japanese have departed in Nagaland. Political unrest and turmoil are resulting in new social issues. Alcohol soothes the problems of those soldiers who have returned from war, but the church and legislature try and fight against this, giving way to bootlegging and domestic violence. The woman realises that Nagaland is torn between changing for the modern world and holding onto traditions of the past.

More information here.

The Lies We Tell, Himanjali Sankar

Teenage relationships are more often than not, regarded as frivolous and temporary, but in Sankar’s young-adult  book, we find that their effects can have dire consequences. While 17-year-old Irfan deeply loves his girlfriend, Uma, she doesn’t reciprocate, and instead, starts seeing his best friend, Rishi. His world falls apart. When a mysterious photograph of Uma circulates, everyone suspects Irfan to be exacting revenge. It’s twisted tale that reflects the dark side of teen romance.

More information here.

My Seditious Heart, Arundhati Roy

Between the two decades she’s spent writing fiction, Roy’s non-fiction work spanned about a thousand pages, which she’s collected in this book. Her writing is politically charged, as she talks about justice, rights and freedom in an increasingly hostile environment. The essays thrusts us through her radical thoughts, tackling destructive logic of financial, social, religious, military and governmental elites.

More information here.

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