Frontlist | Raza Mir’s Murder at the Mushaira to Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s Exiled from Ayodhya

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Our weekly roundup of books that should be on your radar.

We love stories, and even in the age of Netflix-and-chill, there’s nothing like a good book that promises a couple of hours of absorption — whether curled up in bed, in your favourite coffeehouse, or that long (and tiresome) commute to work. Every week, we’ll have a succinct pick of books, across diverse genres, that have been newly made available for your reading pleasure. Get them wherever you get your books — the friendly neighbourhood bookseller, e-retail website, chain store — and in whatever form you prefer. Happy reading!

Murder at the Mushaira
By Raza Mir
Aleph Book Company | Rs 799 | 360 pages

Author Raza Mir’s book is set against the backdrop of India’s First War of Independence in 1857. One morning, a poet is discovered stabbed to death at a Delhi haveli following a grand mushaira. It seems a run-of-the-mill event until East India Company officials make it a matter of high priority. Officer Kirorimal Chainsukh soon discovers that there are several suspects, then turning to poet Mirza Ghalib for help, who uncovers a sinister conspiracy.

The Parasite
By Ferenc Barnás; translated by Paul Olchváry
Seagull Books | Rs 799 | 384 pages

Paul Olchváry translates Hungarian author Ferenc Barnás’ novel, which follows a young man on his journey through strange obsessions and toward possible recovery. The unnamed narrator is a parasite feeding off others’ aliments and host who attracts people with particular manias. He also easily confesses his attraction to illnesses and hospitals. His real descent begins after his first sexual encounter, becoming first a compulsive masturbator and then fornicator.

– NON-FICTION

Desi Delicacies
Edited by Claire Chambers
Pan Macmillan India | Rs 450 | 272 pages

University of York’s Global Literature professor Claire Chambers edits this anthology of food writing, including essays, stories, and recipes, which explores the histories and cultures of Muslim South Asia. The alchemy of the kitchens affects nations and economies, politics, history, and human relationships. Among the writers are Nadeem Aslam, Rana Safvi, Sadaf Hussain, and Tabish Khair.

Exiled from Ayodhya: A Journey in Search of Ramayana
By Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay; translated by Pratiti
Bee Books | Rs 299 | 120 pages

Pratiti translates Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s travelogue from the Bengali, centred around Ramanavami, as he traces Rama’s path during banishment by venturing into the hinterlands of UP. He reflects on how even though archaeologists hadn’t yet found Ayodhya, one was propped up since a legend was required, and how history, myth, and reality intermingle to form this narrative.

Ghosts, Monsters, and Demons of India
By J Furcifer Bhairav and Rakesh Khanna
Blaft Publications | Rs 995 | 455 pages

An encyclopaedia of the evil characters found in Indian folklore, this is an anthology of stories, poetry, myths, and more, aided with illustrations by Appupen, Samita Chatterjee, Osheen Siva, and others. It covers the cultural breadth of the country, from Mizoram’s Ahmaw to Tamil Nadu’s Kaniyam Pey and from Kumaon’s Airi to Kerala’s kuttichathans, among others.

The Making of Land and the Making of India
By Nikita Sud
Oxford University Press India | Rs 1,410 | 280 pages

Development studies teacher at the University of Oxford Nikita Sud’s book studies Indian sites and argues that land is not simply the earth’s surface but a materially and conceptually dynamic realm tied closely with the social. Land transitions occur across territory, property, authority, the sacred, history and memory; and in attempting to ‘make’ the land, the book shows how land also ‘makes’ us.

India’s Long Walk Home
Edited by Ishan Chauhan, Zenaida Cubbinz
AuthorsUpFront | Rs 595 | 248 pages

An anthology of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, the book presents a mirror of our times, raising questions, shattering assumptions, and providing a view of the challenges that India as a diverse country is facing today. Contributors include Arundhati Roy, Ruskin Bond, Mridula Garg, Alok Rai, and Nandita Haskar, among others.

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