BOOK RACK

Monkey-Man
Usha K R
Penguin, 2010, pp 259, Rs 299

At the beginning of the new millennium, on Ammanagudi Street in Bangalore, a strange creature is spotted. As the beast seizes the imagination of the city, the first people to sight it are invited to talk about it on a popular radio show. What was it that they saw, a bat, a malevolent avatar? Or merely a monkey that had lost its way?

Muskoka Maharani
David McMahon
Penguin, 2010, pp 273, Rs 275

Harry Barnsley, an Australian newspaper reporter faces the sack if he cannot produce a scoop. The problem is, he hasn’t broken a story in more than five years. Then the paper’s advertising director tells him to fly to Muskoka, north of Toronto, where her Indian-born aunt Serena lives. Serena had helped capture a German spy during the Second World War, but has remained tight-lipped about the affair. Will Serena reveal her secret to Barnsley?

Changiya Rukh: Against The Night
Balbir Madhopuri
Translated from Punjabi by Tripti Jain

Oxford, 2010, pp 215, Rs 395
Set in a village in Punjab, this novel leads most centrally to the question of how a man conducts himself among people who either don’t understand him or would like to see him in the slush where they think he belongs. The first dalit autobiography in Punjabi to appear in English, this is the real life story of a dalit’s rise from bonded labourhood to the editorship of a socio-economic journal.

The Scalpel: Game Beneath
H S Rissam
Rupa, 2010, pp 321, Rs 195

The story of four people — a pretty princess, a dreaded don, a noble physician and an evil arch-rival. Touching upon themes such as love, lust, lies, greed and scandals, the four characters criss-cross continents. A work of medi-fiction that scintillates through different levels of enigmatic stories.

The Veiled Suite: The Collected Poems
Agha Shahid Ali
Penguin, 2010, pp 393, Rs 350

This definitive volume, Ali’s shining legacy, is a testament to the revolutionary voice that introduced the form of the ‘ghazal’ to the American poetic lexicon — and brought the physical and emotional landscape of Kashmir to an audience of devoted readers.

Half a Face
Nonda Chatterjee
Niyogi, 2010, pp 279, Rs 295

In Priti’s household, mentioning the name of her great grandmother, the enigmatic Gauri, was taboo and so, questions pertaining to her life were not tolerated. Her grandfather was aware of Priti’s obsession with the mystery surrounding her great grandmother and so on his deathbed, he bequeathed a key to her to unravel the truth lost in the dark shades of feudal Bengal. Will Priti be successful in the arduous task she has before her?

The Last Victory:
The Imperial Agent II
Timeri N Murari
Penguin, 2010, pp 430, Rs 399

Set in 1910, lovers Kim and Parvati are fleeing across India, escaping forces beyond their control. Ahead lie turbulent times that will reveal the ruthlessness of the Empire and give rise to the promise of independence. Taking off from ‘The Imperial Agent’, this is a thrilling account of Kim’s life — from the uncertainty of youth to an illuminating maturity mirrored only by the brilliance of a new India.

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