December 6, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

New Releases- October 2021

13 min read

A comprehensive list of New Releases from Asia – this list includes some soon-to-release and some already released titles.

The Story of the First Civilizations: From Mesopotamia to the Aztecs by Subhadra Sen Gupta

  • ISBN : ‎ 978-9354471698
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Talking Cub
  • Release Date: 20 October 2021
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 264 pages
  • Price: INR 499

About the Book

Did you know. The Chinese were the first civilization to introduce the concept of exams? The Indus Valley Civilization was perhaps the cleanest and most organized of all civilizations? There used to be an Inca king who would dust himself with gold? Dive into these and many more nuggets of information about the world’s earliest civilizations. Here you will read about the Egyptian rulers who built lavish tombs for their afterlife; about Greece, the first European civilization that gave us philosophers and mathematicians as well as the cherished concept of democracy; the builders and architects and the gladiators and warring emperors of Rome; and about Africa, the continent where gold and libraries abounded. In her unique and engaging style, Subhadra Sen Gupta takes us on a journey around the world, and tells the known and little-known stories about our origins. Well-researched and filled with captivating illustrations, The Story of the First Civilizations will delight and educate readers everywhere.

About the Author

Subhadra Sen Gupta (1952–2021) wrote over forty books for children because she thought children are the best readers in the world. In 2014, she was awarded the Bal Sahitya Puraskar by the Sahitya Akademi. In 2020, she won the Big Little Book Award instituted by Parag—An Initiative of Tata Trusts.


Pamuk’s Istanbul: The Self and the City by Pallavi Narayan

  • ISBN: 9780367760649
  • Releasing on April 15, 2022 
  • Publishers: Routledge India
  • Number of pages: 220 Pages

About the Book

This book reconstructs Istanbul through the prism of Orhan Pamuk’s fiction. It navigates the multiple selves and layers of Istanbul to present how the city has shaped the writings of Pamuk and has, in turn, been shaped by it. Through everyday objects and architecture, it shows how Pamuk transforms the city into a living museum where different objects converse along with characters to present a rich tapestry across space and time.

Further, the monograph explores the formation of communal and literary identity within and around nation-building narratives informed by capitalism and modernization. The book also examines how Pamuk uses the postmodern city to move beyond its postmodern confines, and utilizes the theories and universes of Bakhtin, Benjamin, and Foucault to open up his fiction and radically challenge the idea of the novel.

The volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of literature, literary theory, museum studies, architecture, and cultural studies, and especially appeal to readers of Orhan Pamuk.

About the Author

Pallavi Narayan has worked in academia and book publishing in Singapore and India. She has co-edited Singapore at Home: Life Across Lines (2021). 


The Ghumi Days by Nabanita Sengupta

About the Book

An anthology of short stories based in an imaginary township, The Ghumi Days brings out both the best and the worst of the characters through small, everyday incidents.

About the Author

Nabanita Sengupta is presently working as an assistant professor in English at Sarsuna College, affiliated to the University of Calcutta, India. Her areas of specialization are 19th-century travel writings, women’s studies, and translation studies. She has participated as a translator in the workshops of Sahitya Akademi, Viswa-Bharati, and others. She has also presented papers in various national and international seminars in India and abroad and organized both national and international webinars and seminars for her college. Her recent publication is a translation of a 19th-century Bengali travel writing, Englandey Bangamahila (A Bengali Lady in England) with a critical introduction.


Losing the Plot: Political Isolation of West Bengal by Sugato Hazra

  • ISBN ‏ : ‎ 978-9391125219
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Niyogi Books Pvt. Ltd.
  • Release Date: 5th October, 2021
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Price: INR 795/-

About the Book

Losing the Plot: Political Isolation of West Bengal is a comprehensive account of West Bengal’s political history tracing the changing leadership, ideologies, and discourse from the birth of modern ideas and nationalism in the state of Bengal which eventually spread across India to its steady movement away from the national mainstream in recent times.

The book delineates the political character of the state and its people, the dream of its early leaders, and the shattering of the same in course of time. The author has analyzed in great detail the rift between Bengal’s leadership and the rest of India since the days of nationalism. He explores West Bengal’s regional political narrative and its continuing isolation from the national mainstream despite changes in government. The cultural, economic, and social preponderance of West Bengal in the past has given way to an unhappy decline because it has failed to engage with its politics in an effective manner.

It is the story of a state that has lost its plot!

About the Author

Sugato Hazra is a public policy analyst with extensive experience in political campaigns and has worked with politicians from West Bengal to study the nature of political development in West Bengal during the last thirty years. He has authored Influencing India – Lobbying in the World’s Largest Democracy (2011), perhaps the only book on the subject, and co-authored Winning the Mandate the Indian Experience (2016) on the 2014 Indian general election.

Writing on political economy since his college days, he has been secretary, economic affairs in the industry chamber FICCI and has contributed to various publications of the chamber including jointly putting together the history of FICCI during its 75th anniversary year.


The Greatest Tamil Stories ever told by Sujatha Vijayaraghavan & Mini Krishnan

  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-9390652297
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Aleph Book Company
  • Release Date: 5 November 2021
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 312 pages
  • Price: INR 699/-

About the Book

The Greatest Tamil Stories Ever Told showcases some of the best short fiction to emerge out of Tamil Nadu, dating from the last century to the present day. Two of the earliest stories included here are Subramania Bharati’s ‘The Story of a Crow Learning Prosody’, a satirical tale about the exaltation of language, and ‘Kalki’ Krishnamurthy’s ‘The Governor’s Visit’, about how bigwigs in little places pandered to the British rulers during the time of the Raj. While some stories in this volume wrestle with the idea of public justice, as in Father Mark Stephen’s ‘Penance’ and Sa. Kandasamy’s ‘The Slaying of Hiranya’, others, such as Ambai’s ‘Journey 4’, hide secrets that could destroy lives and relationships if they are ever revealed.

Featuring memorable works by, among others, Bama, Perumal Murugan, and Poomani, the thirty stories in this collection, selected and edited by Sujatha Vijayaraghavan and Mini Krishnan, come together to paint a striking picture of the Tamil people.

About the Author

Sujatha Vijayaraghavan is a writer and translator. As a bilingual writer, musician, and dance scholar, she combines three disciplines: literature, Carnatic music, and Bharatanatyam. Her literary works in Tamil and English include collections of short stories, poems, a travelogue, articles on environmental issues and the arts, and a novel in Tamil. Some of her books have been acquired by the American Library of Congress and she holds master’s degrees in English literature from Delhi and Madras Universities.

Mini Krishnan is a translator. She has edited translations for Macmillan India and Oxford University Press, India. She is currently working with multiple publishers as coordinating editor (translations) for the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Education Services Corporation.


Encounters with Kiran: Fragments from a relationship by Nayantara Sehgal

  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-9354471933
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Speaking Tiger
  • Release Date: 20 October 2021
  • Price: INR 450/-

About the Book

When they first met in 2002 at a literary festival, Nayantara Sahgal was a veteran of more than twenty books; her debut work, the memoir Prison and Chocolate Cake, was published in 1954. Kiran Nagarkar had published his first novel, Saat Sakkam Trechalis, in Marathi in 1974, and his first work in English, Ravan and Eddie, twenty years later. Sparks didn’t fly at that first encounter. It was only in 2014, when Nagarkar wrote to Sahgal about Mistaken Identity and other books of hers that he had read, that she invited him to lunch at her home in Dehradun— and thus began a correspondence that lasted until Nagarkar’s death in 2019. As they discussed each other’s work, their almost daily exchange of emails grew into a sharing of concerns: Nagarkar’s chronic ill-health, Sahgal’s grief on the death of her 23-year-old grandson, Zum, and through it all, their distress at the rise of violent majoritarianism and the loss of democratic ideals in their beloved country. Emails don’t, observes Sahgal, ‘have the prestige of letters, but they have an immediacy that letters can’t have. Our mails made for the sense of a presence nearby with whom it became natural to share views, feelings and daily doings’.

United by their love of books and their politics, separated by distance—Nagarkar in Mumbai, Sahgal in Dehradun—this immediacy was the key to a friendship that remains an enigma to an outsider. For Sahgal, the emotions appear to be those of a friend, albeit a close and loving one. For Nagarkar, 72 to Sahgal’s 87 when the correspondence began, the feelings run deeper; he misses her constantly, and proclaims his love. This collection of mails is a rare and poignant document, an intimate glimpse into the life and times of two extraordinary writers who drew strength from each other in their personal and political battles.

About the Author

Nayantara Sahgal’s works include classic novels such as Rich Like Us, Plans for Departure and Lesser Breeds. She has received the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Sinclair Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Her novel, When the Moon Shines by Day, was longlisted for the 2018 JCB Prize. She returned her Akademi Award in 2015 in protest against the murder by vigilantes of three writers, and the Akademi’s silence at the time. She has been a Vice President of the PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties) and is engaged in an ongoing protest against the assaults on the freedom of expression and democratic rights.


The Garden of Heaven by Madhulika Liddle

About the Book

A magnificent stone frieze—built up into curves and flourishes, peacocks and curving vines and trailing leaves—runs like a thread through this gripping, sweeping saga that spans a period of two hundred years between two invasions of Dilli—that of Muhammed of Ghur in 1192 CE, and Taimur in the winter of 1398. For whom was it carved, and what happened to it as family fortunes and dynasties rose and fell?. Ten-year-old Madhav comes to Dilli after his world is torn apart by the battle in which Prithviraj Chauhan loses his throne and his life, paving the way for the Delhi Sultanate. In the teeming city, Madhav starts a career as a stone carver, and the craft becomes a manifestation of his very being.

It eventually inspires him to create his masterpiece, a stone frieze that he calls the Garden of Heaven. Running parallel to Madhav’s story is that of another family of stone carvers— Nandu, his arrogant daughter Gayatri, and Gayatri’s daughter, Jayshree, who befriends an unusual, headstrong young woman who wears the clothes of a man and one day leads her army into battle as Razia Sultan. A gentle courtier named Amir Khusro also plays a part in this grand drama, as does Ibrahim, whose forbidden love for Chhoti brings two families together. And then there is poor and lonely Shagufta, who rescues Nasiruddin, a wounded Timurid soldier, and to distract him from his agony, tells the story of her city and. herself. A richly human, layered and dramatic narrative about Delhi on the threshold of a new phase in its long and eventful history, The Garden of Heaven holds the reader in thrall till the end.

About the Author

Madhulika Liddle is a novelist and award-winning short story writer. She is best-known as the author of the Muzaffar Jang series, about a seventeenth century Mughal detective, though she also writes other fiction in different genres and across themes, ranging from black humour to romance. She was the first Indian to win the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association’s Short Story Competition in 2003, and the first Indian to be long-listed for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Competition in 2016. The Garden of Heaven is the first of four novels that will span eight hundred years of Delhi’s history, beginning with the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate and ending with Partition.


The Boy from Shenkottai by Stuart Blackburn

  • ISBN ‏ : ‎ 978-9354470455
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Speaking Tiger
  • Release Date: 20 October 2021
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 272 pages

About the Book

The Madras Presidency, 1911. It is 10:35 a.m., the appointed hour. A boy barely into manhood, a British officer for the Crown, and a loaded pistol will create a moment in history, the echoes of which are still faintly heard today. Vanchinathan, a young boy from a poor Tamil family living in Shenkottai, at the foothills of the western ghats, defies his family and goes far away to attend college. Carried away in the rising tide of anger against colonial rule, he finds himself drawn to one of the militant traditionalist groups opposed to the British Raj. He is recruited, trained to be an assassin and tasked with a secret mission: he must kill Robert Ashe, a British officer who has earned the ire of Vanchi’s mentors by suppressing a riot and jailing its leader. Buffeted by self-doubt and ideological misgivings, Vanchi finds himself on a knife-edge. As Ashe’s luxury train waits at an isolated station, will Vanchi raise his gun and shoot?.Drawing upon a true story, Stuart Blackburn weaves together history, legend and narratives from South India’s colonial past to deliver a gripping yet nuanced novel.

About the Author

Stuart Blackburn gained a doctorate in South Asian Studies and Folklore at the University of California, Berkeley, and taught at several universities in the US and Europe. During a long academic career, he published more than fifteen books on Indian culture and Tamil storytelling traditions, two of which won awards. Beginning in 2010, he started to write fiction, and his second novel, Into the Hidden Valley (2016), won the MM Bennetts Prize for Historical Fiction.


I have not seen Mandu by Swadesh Deepak (Author), Jerry Pinto (Translator)

About the Book

When Swadesh Deepak—celebrated Hindi playwright and short-story writer— arrives at PGI, Chandigarh, after having tried to set himself on fire, the doctors don’t know if he belongs in the burns unit or in the psychiatric ward. He’s living a ‘curse’. A dangerous seductress—his Mayavini—is taking revenge for his insulting rebuff at her wish to visit with him the famous lovers’ palace in Mandu. She comes to him at night, sometimes with three white leopards, and she leaves the smell of her body in his nostrils. When he tries to kill himself, she tells him he will not die. He is firmly in her clutches, but he will tolerate anything for her, from humiliation at the hands of acquaintances to carnivorous worms under his skin.This fractured, shattering narrative—among the most unusual books ever published in India—records Deepak’s descent into madness and his brief, uncertain recovery. Shortly after it was published, he left home for a walk one morning and never returned. As the translator, Jerry Pinto, writes in his introduction: ‘[Deepak’s] words carry all the scars of who he was and what his illness had made of him. His voice echoes from the bottom of a well.’

About the Author

Author and playwright Swadesh Deepak was a professor of English Literature. Following a period of mental illness from 1991 to 1997, he made a momentous return to the world of letters with an autobiographical account of his illness, Maine Mandu Nahin Dekha, and the play Sabse Udaas Kavita. He received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2004. He has a total of 15 published books to his name including short-story collections such as Baal Bhagwan and Kisi Ek Pedh Ka Naam Lo and hugely successful plays such as Court Martial and Kaal Kothri.


POW 1971: A Soldier’s Account of the Heroic Battle of Daruchhian by Major General Vijay Singh

About the Book

The war with Pakistan in December 1971 lasted barely two weeks. It concluded on 16 December with a victory for India and the formation of Bangladesh. But there is a lesser known side to this epic military confrontation—that of the western front, namely Jammu and Kashmir. While many contests on this side of India’s border were won, some battles were ill-fated. The heroic battle at Daruchhian in the Poonch Sector was one of them. A cone-shaped feature, approximately 1,000 metres in height, Daruchhian was of great tactical significance. The fierce clash on its slopes on the night of 13 December, however, could not ensure its capture.

Many Indian soldiers were martyred, and the survivors taken prisoner, including Brigadier (then Major) Hamir Singh, VrC. Heavily injured in battle, he underwent a prolonged recovery at the Command Military Hospital, Rawalpindi, followed by an internment at the POW camp in Lyallpur. Hamir Singh’s eyewitness account, recorded by the author, his son Maj Gen Vijay Singh, narrates in riveting detail what took place on that fateful night and what followed. From battle plans that were too perfect to succeed, to soldiers who didn’t give up, enemies who honoured each others’ professionalism, Pakistanis nostalgic about pre-Partition India, and the shared sorrow and joy that dissolve boundaries of nation and religion, POW 1971 gives us a view of war, valour and humanity that is as heart-wrenching as it is moving.

About the Author

Major General Vijay Singh, VSM, was born in Karauli, Rajasthan on 14 November 1965. He joined the National Defence Academy in June 1983 after completing his education from The Lawrence School, Lovedale. He earned his commission in June 1987. A fourth-generation officer, he lives with his wife and dogs in military cantonments as per his service commitments. His daughter is a media professional while his son is training to become the fifth generation of the family to serve in the Indian Army as an officer.

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