July 30, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

New Releases from Asia – June 2021

12 min read

A Map of Longings: Life and Works of Agha Shahid Ali by Manan Kapoor

About the Book

This first definitive biography of Agha Shahid Ali offers a rich portrait of the poet and the world he inhabited.

“A scintillating portrait of one of the finest poets of the late 20th century”-Ranjit Hoskote

“Manan Kapoor’s immersive study returns the poet to his roots, which are inescapably Indian-there’s no other word for the syncretic mastery of the Hindi, Urdu and English traditions that shaped his work.”-Jeet Thayil

Shahid is widely regarded as one of the finest poets from the Indian subcontinent, and his works are read across the world, touching millions of lives. A pioneer of ghazal writing in English, he wrote extensively about loss, nostalgia, and home. A witness to the conflict that ravaged his homeland Kashmir, a loss he lamented in his collection The Country without a Post Office, Shahid has today become a symbol of hope in a violent world.

In this biography, Manan Kapoor explores the concerns that shaped Shahid’s life and works, following in the footsteps of the ‘Beloved Witness’ from Kashmir to New Delhi and finally to the United States. He charts Shahid’s friendships with figures like Begum Akhtar and James Merrill, and looks at the lives the poet touched with his compassion and love. He also traces the complex evolution of Shahid’s evocative verses, which mapped various cultures and geographies, and mourned injustice and loss, both personal and political. Drawing on various unpublished materials and in-depth interviews with Shahid’s family, friends, students and acquaintances, Kapoor narrates the riveting story of a major literary voice and presents Shahid’s poetic vision, revealing not just what he wrote but also how he taught the world to live.

About the Author

Manan Kapoor is the author of The Lamentations of a Sombre Sky, which was shortlisted for the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar 2017. He was a writer-in-residence at Sangam House writers’ residency in 2019. His writings have appeared in the Boston ReviewCaravanThe HinduScroll, Firstpost and the Wire, among other publications.


Unbelonging: Stories We Never Tell by Sanghamitra Bose

About the Book

Un-belonging narrates stories of loss, betrayal, and trauma that transform into conflicting emotions of guilt, longing, and sorrow to the extent that the protagonists are forced to re-examine the very foundation of their being. Set against a backdrop of South East Asian communities, their unique nuances are interwoven into the fabric of each story as they explore the concept of emotional displacement brought about by life experiences.
Be prepared to be taken on a journey through South East Asia and a whirlwind of emotions as you read this book.


A Consequence of Sequence: The aftermath of a life seized by two tumours by Idayu Maarof (Author), Mohd Firdaus Raih (Author)

About the Book

Merely not dying is not really living – the grief and angst of coping with tumours, strokes, seizures.

After suffering strokes, general practitioner Dr. Idayu Maarof underwent major surgery to remove a heart valve tumour believed to have caused the strokes. She recounted her experience in the book, The Doctor is Sick. Unfortunately, what seemed to be the end of a journey was only the beginning of an even more arduous one. Her symptoms evolved to multiple episodes of daily seizures. To control the seizures, she was put in a medically induced coma. A mysterious brain lesion became the prime suspect, but no one was certain. She later underwent two surgeries to remove what appeared to be a brain tumour. The daily struggle with seizures and of being ill with changing symptoms and diagnoses became a physically and mentally exhausting process of not dying but hardly living what could be called a life. Dr. Idayu Maarof contextually concludes how a sequence of events and decisions led to a particular consequence.

This is not an account about being ill. This is a story of acceptance, gratitude, and the struggle for a life worth living.


The Arches of Gerrard Street by Grace Chia

About the Book

Murder. Migrants. Mafia. A small-town girl from Malaysia goes to London’s Chinatown to uncover the truth behind the tragedy that befell her childhood sweetheart.

The shooting of Molly’s childhood friend in London’s Chinatown has led her from Batu Pahat in Malaysia to the British capital to find answers. Who murdered him? And why? She soon becomes embroiled in a web of deceit spun in an immigrant enclave shrouded in secrecy as her past catches up on her. The Arches of Gerrard Street is a coming-of-age novel about a young girl from a small town thrust into a big city finding her way back to herself.


Two Commas and That Voice by Richik Banerjee

About the Book

The anthology talks about the merits of life from an alternative poetic lens. Poetry has a special function to ‘connect’ with the psyche of the readers as well as provide a cathartic outlet to the poet’s struggles. And, that de-stressing by the poet through the medium of composing lines is extremely violent sometimes. In most of my poems, I have tried to provide a sensory association of ideas by using the cognitive dissociation of effect. My poems shout about memory, fantasy, politics, madness, decay, pornography, sex, cartoons, comics, literary figures, and a whole bunch of other social motions that perform a decadent kind of poetic justice as some form of distributive heterotopia against the pure and the civil.

About the Author

My name is Richik Banerjee, 28 years of age. I hail from the city of Kolkata in West Bengal. I have passed my ICSE from Calcutta Boys’ School in 2009 and ISC (Science) from St. Paul’s Mission School in 2011. I did my graduation (Hons) in English from St. Paul’s Cathedral Mission College which is affiliated with the University of Calcutta. I passed out in 2014. Next, I pursued my Master’s in English from the University of Calcutta. I passed out in 2017 with a first-class degree. I started teaching in the Department of English at St. Paul’s Cathedral Mission College in the middle of December 2017 as a Guest Lecturer. In 2019, I started my Ph.D. work (English) from Amity University, Kolkata, in the discipline of subaltern studies. Currently, I am employed as a State Aided College Teacher (SACT) in the Department of English at St. Paul’s Cathedral Mission College, Kolkata. I have presented/read papers at quite a few international and national seminars. I have published book chapters under international and national publishers of repute and have co-authored quite a few articles with my students too. Further, I wish to pursue my post-doctoral research in the discipline of pornographic studies and of the body-desire emplotment in the politics of life. My email id is banerjee.richik@gmail.com.


Mudwillow: The Six Major Clans by S.S. Raval

About the Book

Far away, in the ocean, in the Bermuda Triangle, in an island called Wolferina, in a clan called Earthhills, there lives a ‘wolfer’ named Mudwillow. Wolfers are the creatures who live in Wolferina, and they live in clans based on elements. One night a mysterious wolfer delivers a message to Mudwillow. The clans are in a state of destruction and if they don’t make peace at the earliest opportunity, the clans will fall apart and the world as they know it will dissolve into chaos. Mudwillow is tasked with a quest: she must go to the legendary clan, Starlight, and ask the wolfers there for help. Will Starlight be able to help her? Will the mission succeed?

In this exciting book by S.S. Raval, readers will go on an enchanted journey through forests, oceans, and deserts. They will meet new characters and they will learn about the importance of being independent and never giving up.


Bleb by Sanjeev Sethi

Buy your copy from HERE.

About the Book

Wee poems from a global poet whose poetry has been published on all the continents.

About the Author

Sanjeev Sethi is published in over thirty countries. His poems have found a home in more than 350 journals, anthologies, or online literary venues. Some credits: 3: AM Magazine, London Grip, Berfrois, Kairos Literary Magazine, K’in Literary Journal, Hamilton Stone Review, The Broadkill Review, The Fictional Café, Indefinite Space, and elsewhere. Wrappings in Bespoke is joint-winner of Full Fat Collection Competition-Deux organized by The Hedgehog Poetry Press UK. It’s his fifth book. It will be launched in late 2021. His other books: Suddenly for Someone (1988, Atma Ram & Sons, Delhi), Nine Summers Later (1997, Har-Anand, New Delhi), and This Summer and That Summer (2015, Bloomsbury, New Delhi). 

Sethi is in the top 10 of erbacce prize 2021.

He lives in Mumbai, India.


A Taste of Time: A Food History of Calcutta by Mohona Kanjilal

About the Book

Calcutta, once the nucleus of the Raj, was at the heart of a thriving economy and unparalleled administration. Over the centuries, this teeming, cosmopolitan metropolis has become home to people from various communities who have lent its food and culture their distinctive tastes and culinary rituals. The heady romance of palates and flavours in the ‘Royal Capital’ has fostered diversity in food and culture all the while adhering to the city’s Bengali roots.

A Taste of Time is an insightful journey through the ever-changing landscape of Calcutta’s food and cultural milieu, from its decades-old cutlet, jhal muri,and puchka stalls to its iconic continental restaurants like Firpo’s and Flurys; from its oldest tea shop, Favourite Cabin, set up in 1924, to the 21st-century fine-dining restaurant “threesixtythree” . Mohona Kanjilal, through her immaculate research, deftly captures the stories behind the city’s endearing culture of‘bikel chaar-ter cha’ (tea at 4 p.m.); its renowned bakeries like Nahoum’s; and the invention of rasogollas and samosas (or shingara). Diving into Calcutta’s dazzling history, she explores how the food habits of early European settlers, Jewish, Armenian, Chinese, Parsi and other expats, and the city’s next-door neighbours like Darjeeling and Odisha, have made the culinary fabric of Calcutta immensely rich and layered.

This delightful and comprehensive history of food in Calcutta, peppered with mouth-watering nuggets, recipes and intriguing accounts of some revolutionary personalities of Bengal will appeal to the mind and tastebuds alike.

About the Author

Mohona Kanjilal was born in Kolkata and spent most of her childhood in Bengaluru. She began her career in Kolkata as a freelance journalist. It was during her stint with the newspapers that she got bitten by the writing bug and ventured into full-time writing. A Taste of Time is her third book and first work of non-fiction. Prior to this book, she has authored two short-story collections. She is an alumnus of Loreto College, Kolkata.


Kunti: Sati Series II (The Sati Series) by Koral Dasgupta

About the Book

Koral Dasgupta writes with verve, emotion and passion … [Kunti] is a must for those wishing to know about our past and the dialectics of gender within it’ PAVAN K. VARMA

Kunti, a rare matriarch in the Mahabharata and one of the revered Pancha Satis, holds an unforgettable position in the Indian literary imagination. Yet, little is known about the fateful events that shaped her early life.

Taking on the intricate task, Koral Dasgupta unravels the lesser-known strands of Kunti’s story: through a childhood of scholarly pursuits to unwanted motherhood at adolescence, a detached marriage, and her ambitious love for the king of the devas.

After the remarkable success of Ahalya, the first book in the Sati series, Kunti presents a brilliant and tender retelling of a story at the heart of our culture and mythology.

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In the Sati series, Koral Dasgupta explores the lives of the Pancha Kanyas from Indian mythology and reinvents them in the modern context with a feminist consciousness.

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Praise for Ahalya

‘Koral Dasgupta gives voice, character, and agency to an enigmatic and fascinating female figure from ancient Hindu lore’ PHILIP LUTGENDORF

About the Author

Koral Dasgupta is an author, painter, entrepreneur, and professor. A compulsive storyteller, she has authored six books, including five works of fiction and one non-fiction. The Sati series is based on Panch Kanya from Indian mythology. After Ahalya, Kunti is the second book in the series, which will be followed by Draupadi, Mandodari, and Tara. Koral’s fourth book has been optioned for screen adaptation.

She is the founder of Tell Me Your Story, a cross-culture repository on the global perception of ‘India’.

Koral consults with educational and corporate organizations on content and communication projects, and she was included in the Holmes Report’s Innovator 25 Asia-Pacific list, 2019. Her website is http://www.koraldasgupta.com and she is on Twitter as @koraldasgupta.


Reboot, Reflect, Revive: Self-esteem in a Selfie World by Shobha Nihalani

About the Book

Reboot, Reflect, Revive demonstrates compellingly why self-esteem is basic to psychological health, professional achievement, personal happiness and positive relationships. It delves in the world of doubts and finds solutions for those self-attacking thoughts which refrain you from forming a positive self-image. It tells you why you should not undermine your built-in skills.

How we estimate ourselves is in direct proportion to how successful we are in life. Often, we view ourselves as to how others perceive us. This limits our capabilities. Being positive in our ability to do what we want and achieve our goals is very important. This book aims to achieve that objective, and I consider it a must-read. I commend the writer on a well-written book. (Gul Mirpuri Founder Chairman, The Indian Businessmen’s Association, Hong Kong)

Self-esteem and confidence can be powerful tools to shape our destiny. In a time of social media and instant gratification, our self-esteem can take a major hit if we view everything we do or achieve through this lens. Shobha Nihalani’s book, Reboot, Reflect, Revive: Self-esteem in a Selfie World, takes an in-depth look at what constitutes our self-esteem or lack thereof but in an interesting, easy-to-read style. Interspersed with real-life examples, she brings out the subtle nuances that can help us all reboot! A must-read!! (Harry Banga Founder, Chairman and CEO, The Caravel Group Ltd)

Reboot, Reflect, Revive: Self-Esteem in a Selfie World is an important book for our time. It speaks to all of us who are overwhelmed with messaging from everywhere, all the time. It makes the case that we need to find ways to pause to refuel ourselves and to protect our self-esteem. It is both an enjoyable and educational read. (Shalini Mahtani MBE, Founder and CEO, The Zubin Foundation)

In this informative and thought-provoking book, Shobha has done a wonderful job in exploring how healthy self-esteem, self-acceptance and persistence can have so many positive influences in our lives and lead us to different ways of success. Her thesis is substantiated with many real-life stories which make her book a most refreshingly interesting read. (Anderson Chow Ka-ming Hong Kong)

Reboot, Reflect, Revive: Self-esteem in a Selfie World is insightful and creates awareness of what is relevant in each one of us to thrive in this complicated world. The book shares modern-day experiences, from corporate to personal, offering us a deeper understanding of how self-esteem can affect every decision we make in life. A must-read for all age groups. (Deepak Ohri CEO, Lebua Hotels & Resorts)

This book addresses the dilemma of people who get easily trapped by weaving a net of untrue and un-useful conclusions. Written in a very easy-to-grasp style along with crystal clear relevant case stories, it triggers soul-searching experiences to feel stronger and melt away the self-imposed limitations. Very engaging and enlightening, author Shobha has done elaborative research and imparts practical ideas to live life with elegance and respect. We can say it is a user’s manual for living a life worth it! (Siri and Sat Khalsa Creators of InnerMost Shift Coaching Model) –This text refers to the paperback edition.

About the Author

Shobha Nihalani is an author and certified life coach. She has been writing for over 25 years and continues to follow her passion. In her youth, she lived in countries around Africa, Asia, North America and Europe, before settling down in marriage in Hong Kong. She started out as a freelance writer and journalist, but her dream was to write a book. Prioritizing family and domestic duties, she took her time to achieve her goal. In her early 40s, her debut novel, Karmic Blues, was translated and published in Denmark.

Now in her mid-50s, Shobha has 10 books under her belt and is recognized for her adventure and thriller novels: The Silent MonumentNINE TrilogyUnresolvedTrikon and The Blue Jade. She has also written two non-fiction books: Dada Vaswani: A Life in Spirituality and A Gift from Above: Haresh and Harini’s Journey in Adoption.

With the release of Reboot, Reflect, Revive: Self-esteem in a Selfie World, Shobha is forging ahead to create awareness of our inner world and how it affects us. 

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