From prolific writers as Chitra Banerjee to kickass debuts like Madhuri Vijay, we pick the most interesting new Indian reads for the new year
As we step into the season of curling up into the quilt with a riveting read, MyNation draws a list of some of the must-reads of 2019 written by brilliant Indian authors both young and veteran. Make space!
THE FOREST OF ENCHANTMENTS by
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Ramayana, one of the world’s greatest epics, is also a tragic love story. In this brilliant retelling, award-winning author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version. The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal, infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain autonomy in a world that privileges men. While the Ramayana resonates even today, she makes it more relevant than ever, in the underlying questions in the novel: How should women be treated by their loved ones? What are their rights in a relationship? When does a woman need to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’
A Suitable Girl
By Vikram Seth
A Suitable Girl is a much-awaited sequel to his 1993 bestseller, A Suitable Boy. Seth has apparently said the book will be set in the present, rather than in 1952 when A Suitable Boy finished, and will, therefore, be a "jump sequel". A jump at sequel too!
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
Pushcart Prize-winner Madhuri Vijay’s story follows one young woman’s search for a lost figure from her childhood, a journey that takes her from Southern India to Kashmir and to the brink of a devastating political and personal reckoning. It is a big, powerful novel about a well-intentioned woman growing up in a confusing family in Bangalore, India, and, as an adult, wandering naively into Kashmir where she does not understand what is going on around her or the affects of what she says and does.
STRAIGHT TO NORMAL, A Gay Man’s Story by Sharif D. Rangnekar
As a fifteen-year-old, Sharif Rangnekar could not fathom why he felt aroused watching men dance in a Jermaine Jackson music video. He soon found the ‘answer’ in a book that told him that this was just a phase and it would end once he got married. He almost did get married. ‘Straight to Normal’ is a story of a gay man who had to battle bouts of fear, dejection and depression and also unlearn the normative definition of lust, love and everything in between, in order to thwart the desire to kill himself and find a reason to live. Sharif is the frontman of Friends of Linger, a band that is credited with India’s first dedication to the gay community—Head Held High. He curates the platform ‘Embrace: Music Justice Arts’, which blends art with social justice.
COMING OUT AS A DALIT: A Memoir by Yashica Dutt
Dalit student Rohith Vemula’s tragic suicide in January 2016 started many charged conversations around caste-based discrimination in universities in India. For Yashica Dutt, a journalist living in New York, this was the moment to stop living a lie, and admit something that she had hidden from friends and colleagues for over a decade—that she was Dalit. In Coming Out as Dalit, Dutt recounts the exhausting burden of living with the secret, terrified of being found out, and dealing with the crushing guilt of denying her history.
SMALL DAYS AND NIGHTS
Award-winning author and performer Tishani Doshi weaves poetry as prose in the story of Grace, who escaping her failing marriage, has returned to Pondicherry to cremate her mother. Once there, she finds herself heir to an inheritance she could not have expected – a property on the beaches of Madras, and a sister she never knew she had: Lucia, who was born with Down’s Syndrome and has spent her life in a residential facility.
Inspired by her viral BuzzFeed piece '37 Difficult Questions from My Mixed-Raced Son', popular Indian-American author Mira Jacob responds to: her six-year-old, Zakir, who asks if the new president hates brown boys like him; uncomfortable relationship advice from her parents, who came to the United States from India one month into their arranged marriage.
One of the world’s favourite historians charts the East India Company’s takeover of India and the birth of the British Raj in the most hotly anticipated title of 2019.
RELENTLESS: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
From bureaucrat to politician, and from one century to the next, Yashwant Sinha’s incredible journey from modest beginnings to the highest corridors of power is a tribute to a family’s determination and sacrifices, a young man’s indomitable grit and an enduring ode to a country in the throes of constant churn and change.
Last Updated 16, Dec 2018, 1:56 PM IST