Book Rack

Hoshruba: The Land and The Tilism
Muhammad Husain Jah
Translated from Urdu by Musharraf Ali Farooqi
Random House, 2009, pp 447, Rs
Long ago, a group of sorcerers created a magical land. It is a world of spirits and talismans, where mountains change shape, fairies spring from the earth and things are rarely what they seem. But it has a limited lifespan for its destruction is preordained. Hoshruba is its name. Full of magic, adventure, romance and fantasy, this is India’s greatest Urdu epic.

Mirror Mirror
Gregory Maguire
Hachette India, 2009, pp 278, Rs 595
A lyrical work of remarkable creative vision, this book, set in 1502, gives fresh life to the classic story of Snow White — and has a truth and beauty of its own.

A Life of Change:
The Autobiography of a Doctor
Noshir H Antia
Penguin, 2009, pp 189, Rs 299
Antia became a doctor by accident. He wanted to be a forest officer like his grandfather and uncle. But life took a different turn once he chose medicine as his profession. From a modest beginning in Hubli, he became a pioneer of plastic surgery in modern India. An honest, witty tale that reveals that there was more to him than just the scalpel.

Puntanam and Melpattur:
Two Measures of Bhakti
Puntanam Namputiri, Melpattur Narayana
Translated by Vijay Nambisan
Penguin, 2009, pp 95, Rs 150
Puntanam’s ‘Jnana-paana’ may claim to be the first original modern poem in Malayalam; simple and innocent, it still speaks directly to the reader. Melpattur’s ‘Narayaniyam’ is the last great hurrah of classical Sanskrit in India. Vijay Nambisan, the translator, explores the dynamics of Malayali culture; places its literature in cotext; studies matters of prosody; and questions the attitude of an elitist language to a regional one. Late medieval poems from Kerala that still resonate in every Malayali’s heart.

Karthika Nair
HarperCollins, 2009, pp 94, Rs 350
Through its three sections, ‘Virga’, ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘Terra Infirma’, the author meditates on the intertwined themes of directions, moorings and disclosures, with the multiple meanings and connections inherent in the title itself. Bereavement and absences, the loss of memory and love, and concerns about home and identity find eloquent expression in these evocative poems.

The Last Tourist in Iran: From Persepolis to Nuclear Natanz
Nicholas Hagger
Jaico, 2009, pp 261, Rs 295
This book looks at the cultural heritage and present nuclear crisis in Iran. A source of Western civilisation, it may be destroyed by its main beneficiary. The first book on Iran to combine travelogue with in-depth historical reflection.

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