New Releases from Asia: October 2019

Front cover

Title: Kiswah

Author: Isa Kamari

Publisher: Kitaab

Year of publication: 2019

Price: S$18

Pages: 201

Links: Singapore Writer’s Festival


It is a story of a honeymooning couple in Delhi, Agra, Kashmir, Kathmandu and finally Mecca. The story unveils the true nature of Ilham, the husband whom Nazreen thought was a pious and morally upright person. As it turned out he was overwhelmed by his sexual desire and abuses her. Nazreen maintained her calm and integrity and tries to seek solace in their final destination, Mecca.

As they were performed the Umrah, Nazreen was kidnapped by a taxi driver. Ilham was shocked and at a loss. Disappointed he left Mecca, blaming God for his misfortune. He vowed not to return to the Holy Land.

In Singapore, Ilham continued with his hedonistic ways and kept a Chinese mistress whom he met at a massage parlour. Susan had an ailing mother who dreamt that her sickness would only be cured if she visited Mecca. Incidentally, Ilham was coaxed by Nazreen’s friend to return to Islam and amend his ways. He decided to marry Susan who presented him with a condition: they must visit Mecca with her mother.

Ilham was in a dilemma. Would he return to Mecca? Finally, he did, but not without deep introspection. A mysterious event ensued. He met his destiny in front of the Kaabah.

Kiswah attempts to probe the relationship between sexuality and spirituality, by letting both confront one another to find peace.


Dara Shukoh

Title: Dara Shukoh: The Man Who Would Be King

Author: Avik Chanda

Publisher: Harper Collins India

Publication Date:  2019

Pages: 368

Price: Rs 699 

Links: Amazon


Dara Shukoh – the emperor Shah Jahan’s favourite son, and heir-apparent to the Mughal throne prior to being defeated by Aurangzeb – has sometimes been portrayed as an effete prince, incompetent in military and administrative matters. But his tolerance towards other faiths, and the myths and anecdotes surrounding him, continue to fuel the popular imagination. Even today, over 350 years after his death, the debate rages on: if this ‘good’ Mughal had ascended the throne instead of his pugnacious younger brother, how would that have changed the course of Indian history?

Dara Shukoh: The Man Who Would Be King brings to life the story of this enigmatic Mughal prince. Rich in historical detail and psychological insight, it recreates a bygone age, and presents an empathetic and engaging portrait of the crown prince who was, in many ways, clearly ahead of his times. Eminent journalist Arun Shourie says, “The Book we need — about the man we need.”



Title: Jakarta Jive Bali Blues

Author: Jeremy Allan

Publisher: Yellow Dot 

Year of publication: 2019

Pages: 350

Price: Rp.192,500



A true-to-life look by an insightful writer, Jakarta Jive / Bali Blues is a collected edition of two books chronicling a pair of seminal events in modern Indonesian history: the end of the Suharto government in 1998 and the terrorist attack in Bali in 2002, from the point of view of the people most profoundly affected: the Indonesians themselves.



Title: Loss Adjustment

Author: Linda Collins

Publisher: Ethos Books

Year of publication: September 2019

Pages: 316

PB Price: S$21.00 (before GST) / S$22.47 (after GST)

Ebook Price: S$15.73

Links if any:


 “I have had nothing bad happen to me except my own doing. I have let this cowardice envelope me, and I can’t shake it off. I will commit the worst thing you can ever do to someone who loves you: killing yourself. The scary thing is, I’m okay with that.” —Victoria McLeod, Singapore, March 30, 2014

Loss Adjustmentis a mother’s recount of her 17-year-old daughter’s suicide.

In the wake of Victoria McLeod’s passing, she left behind a remarkable journal in her laptop of the final four months of her life. Linda Collins, her mother, has woven these into her memoir, which is at once cohesive, yet fragmented, reflecting a survivor’s state of mind after devastating loss.

 Loss Adjustment involves the endless whys, the journey of Linda Collins and her husband in honouring Victoria, and the impossible question of what drove their daughter to this irretrievable act. A stunningly intimate portrait of loss and grief, Loss Adjustment is a breaking of silence—a book whose face society cannot turn away from.


Witnessing Partion 2nd ed., cover

Title: Witnessing Partition : Memory, History, Fiction, Second Edition

Author: Tarun Kumar Saint

Publisher: Routledge

Year of publication: 2019

Pages: 264

Price: Rs. 995/-

Links if any:

About: This book interrogates representations – fiction, literary motifs and narratives – of the Partition of India. Delving into the writings of Khushwant Singh, Balachandra Rajan, Attia Hosain, Abdullah Hussein, Rahi Masoom Raza and Anita Desai, among many others, it highlights the modes of ‘fictive’ testimony that sought to articulate the inarticulate – the experiences of trauma and violence, of loss and longing, and of diaspora and displacement. The author discusses representational techniques and formal innovations in writing across three generations of twentieth-century writers in India and Pakistan, invoking theoretical debates on history, memory, witnessing and trauma.

With a new afterword, the second edition of this volume draws attention to recent developments in Partition studies and sheds new light as regards ongoing debates about an event that still casts a shadow on contemporary South Asian society and culture. A key text, this is essential reading for scholars, researchers and students of literary criticism, South Asian studies, cultural studies and modern history.


Dangling Gandhi-FINAL-front.jpg

Title: Dangling Gandhi

Author: Jayanthi Sankar

Publisher: Zero Degree Publishing

Year of publication: 2019

Pages: 152

Price: Rs. 220 / S$12/

Links :


Here is a set of short stories that artistically break the traditional rules of storytelling to bring about freshness, so Singaporean, India, and Asian. About 10 out of the 12 short stories ranging right from 1905 colonial period in Singapore, the period of the independence struggle in India to the contemporary modern themes such as  ‘my mother is feminist’ are truly SingLit, aptly published when we celebrate our Bicentennial. The collection has all the features like smooth readability, with an anthropological approach, interesting experiments both in content and form that any good collection would be expected to have.


Title: Between Sips of Masala Chai

Author: Shilpa Dikshit Thapliyal

Publisher: Kitaab

Year of publication:

Pages: 72

Price: S$18

Links: Singapore Writers’ Festival


…In a moment of Naivety,

it seeks release from the grips of fatigue

lest it remains elusive, lost in a lament

of miscellaneous things.

Between sips of Masala Chai is a foray into a homemaker’s aromatic and often chaotic journey to catch a glimpse of herself while she navigates through the assorted roles.

The routine of sitting down with a cup of maslala chai is a gateway to the poet’s inner world and is a welcome interlude during the daily hum of activities. In the flux of domesticity, relationships, travel, nostalgia and loss, the poems interact converge and spill over one another with subtle irony and tenderness and emerge in an unexpected confluence similar to flavours brimming in her cup of masala chai.



Title: Train Friends – Bombay roots, Parallel tracks, Shared journeys

Author: Nandini Patwardhan and Ranjani Rao

Publisher: Story Artisan Press

Year of publication: 2019

Pages: 85

Price: Rs. 149

Links if any:


This is a collection of fourteen paired essays written by Nandini Patwardhan and Ranjani Rao. Both writers grew up in Mumbai and spent long periods in the United States. The essays explore similar themes, but from very different perspectives. Topics covered are the emergence of ambition in childhood, becoming mothers in a foreign land, the meaning of home, and how the writers’ values continue to be shaped by their formative experiences. This is a different kind of immigrant narrative. There is nostalgia, but it is colored with optimism, ambition, and courage. Curious and open-minded readers will find resonance in this anthology. Grab a copy and hop on our train for a uniquely uplifting and insightful journey.



Title: She Lives On

Author: Dr Uma Trilok

Publisher: Sabhya Prakashan

Year of publication: 2018

Price: Rs 300

Pages: 149

Links if any: Amazon

She Lives On  is the story of Imroz, a renowned painter, who after living with his
beautiful beloved, Amrita Pritam, a Padma Vibhushan and  the poetess of the millinium, for 45 years, lost her to death.

Imroz continues to feel she lives with him. He writes poems for her, decorates her room with flowers, cooks for her and feeds her with his own hands. For him, his today, affords him to live, relive, create and recreate moments he spent with her during her life time, which he re- spends with her even now.

This is the story of immortal love between two mortal beings.


Dear Reader, Please Support Kitaab! 

Help promote Asian writing and writers. Become a Donor today!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s