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Posts tagged ‘Book Review’

Book Review: ‘A Princess’s Pilgrimage: Nawab Sikandar Begum’s A Pilgrimage to Mecca’

By Raeesa Usmani
Sikandar Begum’s account is partly filled with the official correspondence between Pasha, Sherif of Mecca and Jeddah cities, and herself. Her letters mainly discuss the complexities she had to undergo because of Turkish custom officers; her dealings, arrangement of formal visits and customary communications, regarding her being escorted safely and securely in the city; her tentative dwelling arrangements and the problems she had faced because of an unfamiliar language as an Indian pilgrim.

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Book Review: Mark Shand’s ‘Travels on my Elephant: An Indian Journey’

By Sridhi Dash
Shand has interspersed the travelogue with ample excerpts from nineteenth and twentieth century European texts on elephants. He seems to long to return for a touristic sightseeing of the poverty and deterioration of India after the British had sucked the subcontinent dry of all its resources and riches. There appears to be no hint of guilt for the colonial sins committed by his forefathers as he revels with his small army, fulfilling his fantasy of being a modern day Tarzan.

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Contents: The Book that Left an Impact on Me in 2015 (Issue 23)

Contents: The Book that Left an Impact on Me in 2015 (Issue 23)

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Guest-Editorial: The Book that Left an Impact on Me in 2015 (Issue 23)

By Tikuli
For this issue of Cafe Dissensus, we asked the contributors to tell us about a book that had made a real impact on them in 2015; a book that made them think, that moved them, excited them or informed them. We wanted to explore how the reading of that particular book affected their life.

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The Constitution of India

By Sumant Batra
This may come as a surprise to many but a literary work that has, and continues to influence me, and surely many others is, the Constitution of India. The longest written constitution of any sovereign nation in the world, the Constitution of India is an extra-ordinary work of literature. The original text of the Constitution contained 395 articles in 22 parts and 8 schedules. From its various revised editions, the number of articles has increased to 448.

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Iadalang Pyngrope’s ‘One Sohra Summer’

By Ananya S Guha
Having lived in Shillong all my life, nurtured by its winter, clammy summer, the hills, the rain and the mesmerising wind, I discovered that this novel, One Sohra Summer, was asking for empathy from readers. Prodded by its quest for history, I took to this novel like fish to water, a refreshing welcome from many award-winning novels, where I had to rack my brain for comprehending the kind of narrative technique the author was trumping.

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Sabita Goswami’s ‘Along the Red River’

By Tikuli
Along the Red River is a powerful autobiography of the acclaimed veteran journalist, Sabita Goswami, who was the first woman reporter in the North-East to have worked for organisations like AFP and BBC. The book is translated from the original Assamese, 'Mon Gongaar Teerot' by her elder daughter, Dr. Triveni Goswami Mathur, who is also a journalist and an academician.

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Ambai’s ‘A Purple Sea’

By Rebecca Behar
A Purple Sea is a compilation of short stories written between 1970 and 1990 that gives an idea of the broad span of Ambai’s resourceful talents. Some stories subtly emphasize small, everyday events, where an unnoticeable event can determine a whole destiny or break a life. This is the case in “My mother, her crime”, which involves the discovery of puberty by a teenager, or “Wings”, which enters into the intimacy of a women married to a stingy and egotistical husband.

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Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things’ & Michael Ondaatje’s ‘The English Patient’

By RK Biswas
Some of the books I read (or re-read) either along with my daughter or after she had finished them and was eager to discuss the plots and characters, were the usual classics. Some were books I had read when I was a teenager like her. One in particular – The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy –was a book I had picked up soon after she was born. And, yes, this was one that stood out from my pile of re-read books. The other one that impacted me all over again, and also in a new way was Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient.

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Amanda Curtin’s ‘Elemental’

By Rashida Murphy
There are so many aspects of this book that snagged my heart that I would need to do several reviews to do justice to all those aspects. So I will content myself in this review at least, by saying that this is a deeply believable book, deeply forgiving and deeply lyrical. As with all of Amanda Curtin’s work, the language is achingly beautiful, the characters are raw and real and the story has the sweep of an elegy.

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R. K. Narayan’s ‘A Tiger for Malgudi’

By VM Girija
This novel is so different from other novels or stories RKN wrote. It’s not a long narrative story with incidents and accidents. Rather, it’s a classic epic like narration. In epics, story is not of much importance. The story is narrated in the beginning itself as a short text. We don’t read the Ramayana or the Mahabharata to follow an unknown story. We follow the retold life to assimilate some values or understand the undercurrents of what is called LIFE!

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Khushwant Singh’s ‘The Good, Bad and the Ridiculous’

By K.S.Subramanian
Khushwant Singh's contacts with the celebrities were something the lesser mortals were envious of. His self-deprecation and witticisms made him win as much malevolence as friendship. But he had a well-etched view of every friend of his, irrespective of their field of operation. Precisely this uncluttered appraisal finds its way into the sharp portraits he draws up in The Good, Bad and the Ridiculous.

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Anne Frank’s ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’

By Suneetha Balakrishnan
I was introduced to Anne Frank in my teens; I was roughly the same age as her in the text, and about four decades apart in the calendar. And I read through the night, intrigued by her life. I read of how a normal German Jewish girl had been gifted a ‘diary’ (red-and-white-checkered autograph album which later expanded into several notebooks) for her thirteenth birthday. Noted in these were her encounters with life and routine. And the to-be-teen me was seized immediately with the awakening of sexuality in the book.

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Avirook Sen’s ‘Aarushi’

By Neha Madule
Aarushi is the story of a teenage girl named Aarushi Talwar, who belonged to a well-to-do Delhi-based family with two doting parents. She was a good student and a wonderful person who was liked by everyone who knew her. But one day, she was found murdered in her bedroom. The body of Talwars’ house-help was discovered a day later. It was a case of double murder, with the parents being the prime suspects, who allegedly killed her because she was suspected of having an affair with him. The question is: Did they?

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Jamil Ahmad’s ‘The Wandering Falcon’

By Mosarrap H. Khan
As a career bureaucrat, Ahmad worked most of his life in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) of Pakistan. His first-hand experiences of tribal life helped him produce an enchanting collection of interrelated short stories, The Wandering Falcon, which he completed in 1973. Set in the remote border regions of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, the stories delineate the fluid everyday life of Baloch, Pashtun, Gujjar, and other tribal communities.

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José Saramago’s ‘The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis’

By Sourav Chatterjee
Saramago creates the fictional Ricardo Reis who was one of the four heteronyms (or alter egos) of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Pessoa’s ghost is also present in the novel as a character. Reis is a doctor who returns to Lisbon from Brazil after sixteen years, and as the novel proceeds there begins a wonderful confluence of discourse on art, reading, love, poetry, and philosophy.

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Ian R. MacLeod’s ‘Frost on Glass’

By James Goddard
Frost on Glass (PS Publishing, 2015) is his most recent collection of short stories, all previously published in magazines, except one long novella which is original to this book; each story has a short afterword, in which the author explains what motivated him to write that tale. Woven among the stories are essays, sometimes very personal, that paint a picture of what it was like to grow up in post WWII England and what made MacLeod what he is today.

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