Wednesday August 22, 2018

Books For The Weekend: Take on urban youth, personal experiences and Bengal

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New Delhi: We bring you good reads of the weekend with books pertaining to various genres- translated work of a self-declared anti-writer who uses montages and other cinematic techniques for his stories; and a teacher’s memoir that takes the reader down memory lane of unconditional support from his students, among others.

There’s also a journalist’s understanding of the concerns of urban youth presented with puns and wit; finally, a real estate developer’s memoir that takes a hard look at the sector in India. Here’s what Books This Weekend has to offer you. Read on!

1. Book: Wild Animals Prohibited; Author: Subimal Misra, Translated by V Ramaswamy; Publisher: Harper Perennial; Pages: 265; Price: Rs.375

Originally written by Subimal Mishra who is a master of contemporary alternative in Bengali literature and known for his anti-establishment writing, the book is a record of the dark history of violence and degeneration in West Bengal of the 1970s and 1980s.

A collection of 25 stories translated by V Ramaswamy, the book unfolds the continuous evolution of Misra’s writing as he searches for a form to do justice to the reality.

2. Book: Love Affection and Respect; Author: M S Neelakantan; Publisher: Notionpress; Pages: 259; Price: Rs.310
A beautifully written memoir, the book takes readers down memory lane of a teacher who shares best bonds with his students, who stood beside him no matter where they landed, who went out of their way to be there for a teacher when he needed support.

Replete with nostalgia and eloquence, the book compels you to make a call to your favourite teacher. A must-read memoir for any reader, the book takes you back to the 1990s.

3. Book: Name Place Animal Thing; Author: Mayank Shekhar; Publisher: FingerPrint; Pages: 414; Price: Rs.250
Today’s urban youth have several concerns ranging from city, cinema, stardom and religion to cops, cigarette smoking, social drinking and social media. Mayank Shekhar’s latest book is whacky yet insightful and takes on India’s desi and popular culture.

The book captures the essence of urban youth’s spirit with Shekhar’s characteristic wit and razor-sharp observations to simultaneously inform, amuse and irritate. Written with profound observational depth on varied topics, the book is a must read!

4. Book: Inside Unreal Estate; Author: Sushil Kumar Sayal; Publisher: Penguin; Pages: 212; Price: Rs.499
Beginning his career with small-time players, the author was disillusioned with the shady dealings of the sector and started looking to work for bigger companies. In his work experience of 30 years, Sayal has worked with many established houses like Mahindra and Ansals.

The book recounts how the real estate sector went from being a ‘dirty business’ run by small time builders to the playing field of corporate powerhouses. Full of anecdotes, some witty and others disturbing, this fast-paced memoir takes a hard look at the real estate sector in India. (IANS)

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“A Suitable Girl”: Most Awaited Novel By Vikram Seth, Finally Published

Seth suffered from writer's block after his break-up

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"A Suitable Girl": Most Awaited Novel By Vikram Seth, Finally Published, flickr

Hardly has any novel been awaited with as much curiosity and anticipation in recent times as Vikram Seth’s sequel to the monumental “A Suitable Boy” (1993). Five years on, since he was first expected to deliver the manuscript, the novel is still to see the light of the day. But what seems like a saga of missed deadlines can very well — far from our eyes — be a masterpiece in the making.

“The more I talk of her, the more shy she becomes,” Seth had told this correspondent in 2015 about “A Suitable Girl”, the novel-in-waiting.

Seth, as his literary agent David Godwin puts it, has been known to take his time with his books. The prolonged delay, however, was not acceptable to Hamish Hamilton (an imprint of Penguin Random House) and he was asked to return an advance payment of $1.7 million when the deal was called off. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, an imprint of the British publisher Orion, then acquired the novel — and it was scheduled to release in 2016.

But a flying bird — a friend and confidant of the writer — says that he is now giving the “final touch” to the novel and that one can expect “the big announcement” soon.

Seth released a collection of poems titled “Summer Requiem” in the meanwhile. In the collection, he traces the immutable shiftings of the seasons, the relentless rhythms of a great world that both “gifts and harms”. Composed as they were while he was (which he still is) writing the sequel, several poems in the offering open doors to his mind, or perhaps they may be preludes to the larger narrative that he is weaving.

“I have so carefully mapped/the corners of my mind/that I am forever waking/in a lost country,” he writes in the opening poem. Interestingly, Seth’s companion to “A Suitable Boy” will be a jump sequel — the characters have travelled from the 1950s and it will be very much a novel set in somewhat the present times.

novels By Vikram Seth
novels By Vikram Seth, flickr

In its title poem, he mourns that the “liberated generation lives a restrained youth,” and then adds: “I must forsake attachment”. On another occasion in the book, readers find him lamenting over “the peaceful love” that the narrator has “never found”. In another short poem “Late Light” he writes: “Outside the great world’s gifts and harms/ There must be somewhere I can go/To rest within a lover’s arm/At ease with the impending snow”.

Reportedly, Seth suffered from writer’s block after his break-up with French violinist Phillippe Honor but that was a long time ago and was reflected in “An Equal Music”. He has moved on or has he not?

Nonetheless, it has been about five years since “A Suitable Girl” was first expected to hit the stands but the wait is surely worth it. As writer-politician Shashi Tharoor says about his good friend’s technique — that “Vikram Seth draws an entire roadmap of his novel, planning every minute element in great detail” — the sequel, thanks to all the anticipation and the pressure on the writer, may actually be a masterpiece in the making, as sublime as its counterpart and yet set in the time of its readers.

Vikram Seth is a recipient of the Padma Shri, Sahitya Akademi Award, and among several other prestigious honours, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. He has been widely translated and is among leading novelists on the global stage. He has published three novels — “The Golden Gate” (1986), “A Suitable Boy” (1993) and “An Equal Music” (1999) — along with several collections of poetry such as “Mappings” and “All You Who Sleep Tonight”.

Also read: Here is all the reason for Bookworms to look ahead for the upcoming year: A List of the Best Stories and Novels in 2017!

Seth — an openly gay man — is also one of the prominent faces of the campaign against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality. (IANS)