book rack

Constance
Patrick McGrath
Bloomsbury, 2013, pp 244, 499

The cool, beautiful Constance Schuyler lives alone in Manhattan in the early 1960s. At a literary party, she meets Sidney Klein, a professor of poetry 20 years her senior. Sidney is a single father with a poor marital record, and he pursues Constance with relentless determination. Eventually she surrenders and accepts his marriage proposal. She can’t settle in. She’s tortured by memories of the bitterly unhappy childhood.

The Power of Silence
Graham Turner
Bloomsbury, 2013, pp 224, 299
Graham Turner explores the power that can be found in silence through interviewing monastics, religious leaders, composters, actors, psychotherapists and peace workers about their experiences of practising silence. A profound book about a great gap in modern human awareness.

The Competent Authority
Shovon Chowdhury
Aleph, 2013, pp 454, 495
A couple of decades from now, India is not shining; the Chinese have nuked large parts of the country; Bombay has been obliterated; Delhi is in the throes of rigorous reconstruction; Bengal has seceded and is now a protectorate of China; the Maoists have taken over much of what remains. The most powerful person in the country is a deranged bureaucrat called the Competent Authority.

Visual Histories — Photography in
the Popular Imagination
Malavika Karlekar
Oxford, 2013, pp 174, 795
Not much is known about how the coming of photography changed visual discourse or affected people’s lives. Divided into two sections, this selection of 32 essays, each illustrated with archival photographs, looks at the camera in the colonial era and in post-independent India.

The Corner Office
Ashutosh Garg
Rupa, 2013, pp 196, 195
In 1980, Rahul, Raj, Iqbal, Sangeeta and Anita get their first jobs at a large multinational alcohol-manufacturing company, Trust Corporation. Over the next three decades, the five go through ups and downs in their personal and professional lives as they race one another to the top. However, through all of this, their goal remains unchanged — each of them wants to become the chairman and enter the fabled corner office.

The Moonballer
Nirupama Vaidyanathan
Konark, 2013, pp 252, 350
This memoir is the first documented chronicle by an Indian female tennis player. At a time when professional tennis for women was unheard of in India, Nirupama Vaidyanathan embarked on this journey with sheer will and determination. The narrative keeps tennis at its crux, and also touches upon issues dealing with society, travel, safety, money, and the tennis system in India.

The Rani of Jhansi
Prince Michael of Greece
Rupa, 2013, pp 390, 295
A fictional account of the life of Lakshmibai, the heroic warrior queen, the book vibrantly portrays one of the bravest women in Indian history. Along with the throne, Lakshmibai inherits steep challenges — she becomes a widow to a deceased king and mother to an adopted heir. Her brother-in-law aggressively contends her right to the throne and the ominous presence of the British spells uncertainty.

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