November 30, 2022

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

New Releases – June 2022

14 min read

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

Charu Majumdar: The Dreamer Rebel (Series: Pioneers of Modern India)by Ashoke Mukhopadhyay  

About the Book

He, who cannot dream and imbue others to dream, is not a revolutionary,’ said Charu Majumdar. True to his words, he dreamt of a shackles-free India and drew thousands of youth to join the armed revolution unleashed by his party in the 1970s.

This book, the only one of its kind, is unbiased documentation of the trailblazing journey of the firebird who gifted the word ‘Naxalite’ to the world, something that spread like a wildfire in the deepest roots of the contemporary young minds. The man who had a fire in his heart thus became an inspiration to a generation.

Charu Majumdar: The Dreamer Rebel is a well-researched book on the legendary rebel of the 1970s, who, besides calling for an armed revolution, taught many to dream.

This book is a part of the series – Pioneers of Modern India. Other books in the series: a) Homi J. Bhaba, b) Heisnam Sabitri, c) RK Laxman & d) Jamini Roy.

About the Author

Ashoke Mukhopadhyay made a foray into literature with a host of startling articles and insightful documentations like Terrorism—a colonial construct, The Naxalites: Through the Eyes of Calcutta Police, etc. Mukhopadhyay won the coveted Ananda Snowcem Award twice for his articles. His zeal for seamless stitching of facts with imagination is also reflected in his novel Abiram Jwarer Roopkatha (A Ballad of Remittent Fever), long-listed for the JCB Award 2020.


Siddhartha Street by Sudha Yadav 

About the Book

The street quietly watches them grow, dream, and die. In ‘Siddhartha Street’ characters come together and grow apart to draw you into the tale of a quotidian street, in a quaint corner of South India. On the rooftop of the lone apartment block in the street, it’s time for ‘Saturday night drinking’ and a motley crew of men gathers to drink. A man who regrets being in love, a husband who may lose his job, a father who is about to wed his daughter, and the bullying building secretary all converge on the dimly lit terrace. In a corner of the street, a broken single mother runs ‘The Ironing Shop’, so that her daughter does not share the same destiny. Beside the apartment building, live ‘The retired couple’, where an elderly wife watches her husband, withdraw and cocoon himself in spirituality. The collection culminates in ‘Before’, where we travel to the past and witness a fateful Sunday; a day marking the end of innocence and branded by violence. You may hear an echo of R K Narayanan, but it could easily be Chekov or Joyce. Lives in quiet streets are the same everywhere: intricate, inspiring, irredeemable – human.

About the Author

Sudha Yadav hails from the coastal town of Puducherry. Her family moved to the shores of Arabia in her childhood and she grew up in the distant dunes of Dubai. An MBA, she lived the corporate life for 12 years. She turned to writing as a freelance columnist at first and then pursued short fiction.

Sudha, now resides in a charming neighbourhood in Chennai with a precocious daughter and husband.


Nomads: The Wanderers Who Shaped Our World by Anthony Sattin 

About the Book

‘Thoughtful, lyrical yet ambitiously panoramic . . . As fleet and light-footed as its subject, it takes us along a dizzying path, over many of the highest ridges of human history . . . AN IMPORTANT, GENEROUS AND BEAUTIFULLY-WRITTEN BOOK’ – William Dalrymple

The ground-breaking story of Nomadic peoples on the move across history.


Humans have been on the move for most of history. Even after the great urban advancement lured people into the great cities of Uruk, Babylon, Rome and Chang’an, most of us continued to live lightly on the move and outside the pages of history. But recent discoveries have revealed another story . . .

Wandering people built the first great stone monuments, such as the one at Göbekli Tepe, seven thousand years before the pyramids. They tamed the horse, fashioned the composite bow, fought with the Greeks and hastened the end of the Roman Empire. They had a love of poetry and storytelling, a fascination for artistry and science, and a respect for the natural world rooted in reliance and their belief. Embracing multiculturalism, tolerant of other religions, their need for free movement and open markets brought a glorious cultural flourishing to Eurasia, enabling the Renaissance and changing the human story.

Reconnecting with our deepest mythology, our unrecorded antiquity and our natural environment, Nomads is the untold history of civilisation, told through its outsiders.

About the Author

Anthony Sattin has been described as one of the key influences on travel writing today. His highly acclaimed books include A Winter on the Nile and Young Lawrence. His award-winning journalism has appeared regularly in the GuardianObserverSunday TimesFTDaily Telegraph and publications around the world including Wall Street JournalAl-Ahram and Al Jazeera. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, editorial advisor on Geographical Magazine and a contributing editor to Condé Nast Traveller.


AASMA-I-NOOR: The Cursed Jewel By Sudipta Sen Gupta

About the Book

A diamond like no other, a curse like no other…

This is the story of the world’s largest diamond—Aasma-i-Noor (sky of light). This rare red jewel of incomparable beauty surpassed its sister stones—Koh-i-Noor (mountain of light) and Darya-i-Noor (sea of light)—all mined from the same womb of the Kollur mine in Golconda. This was a diamond with a far more violent history than her sisters. Her existence was zealously guarded down the ages by a select circle. Over time, even her name disappeared from all historical texts, bards’ tales and living memory itself. The modern-day search for the lost jewel begins in two different corners of the world, involving a British research scholar in London and an Indian historian in Calcutta. The British scholar finds mention of the Aasma-i-Noor in the documents left behind by Sir Robert Clive. The historian from India is the descendant of a Raja, who was Clive’s friend and confidante. The Battle of Plassey in 1757, the downfall of Nawab Siraj-ud Daulah, the death of Clive and the treachery of Mir Jafar, all combine to create a maze of cryptic clues and devilish dead ends for the unlikely partners. They plough forward, and just when the end is in sight, an implacable adversary threatens everything.

About the Author

Sudipta Sen Gupta is an associate professor in the School of Management at GD Goenka University. After completing her graduation in physics from Presidency College, Kolkata, and MBA from Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi University, she worked in senior corporate management roles for over 20 years. She helped build multiple well-known brands and powered multinational organizations to success, winning several national and global awards and recognitions along the way. In 2017, she decided to leave the corporate world and join academics, allowing her time to complete her Ph.D. and return to her first love—Indian history. Aasma-i-Noor: The Cursed Jewel is the result of that love.


The Sweet Kitchen: Tales and Recipes of India’s Favourite Desserts by Rajyasree Sen 

About the Book

Sweets play a central role in all festivals and celebrations of India and every part of the country has special desserts that are prepared in specific ways. In The Sweet Kitchen: Tales and Recipes of India’s Favourite Desserts, chef and food writer Rajyasree Sen delves into the stories behind some of these iconic sweet dishes and asks questions about the origins of others. Among the tales she tells are the following—Is sandesh only made in Bengal? Is the gulab jamun strictly Indian? Was the kaju barfi created through divine intervention? How did sweetshops support the independence movement? How did the Persians, Mughals, French, Portuguese, British, and others influence sweet dishes in different parts of the country? Why do most communities not use yoghurt in their desserts?—and more.

Weaving together stories, historical records, and recipes, the book takes a fascinating look at the desserts we have eaten for countless Diwali, Christmas, Eid, and Navroz celebrations through the centuries.

About the Author

Rajyasree Sen is a chef, columnist, and food writer based in New Delhi. She has always had a keen interest in the history of food and her restaurant, Brown Sahib, was known for its Bengali and Anglo-Indian cuisine, which Sen grew up eating in Calcutta. She has been writing on food for various international travel and food shows, and was the food columnist for the Wall Street Journal in India. She writes for the Economic Times and Newslaundry, and is the co-host of Newslaundry’s pop-culture podcast, The Awful and Awesome. She is also the head of communications for an international hospitality chain in New Delhi.


Those Women of the Coramandel by Ranga Rao

About the Book

Those Women of the Coromandel brings to life the eclectic, intertwined lives of three women living in Coromandel in nineteenth-century India. We meet Miss Beston who is known as the Boat Woman, a Briton who has gone native. Living in her boat (that grows into a chain of houseboats, each housing a different area of her living and working quarters) she is an entrepreneur, hunter, and host and guide to every British official who passes through the Coromandel. Deeply interested in local culture, she befriends people around her, both Indian and British. Appachchi, known as Granny, is a lover of nature, mangoes, and the monsoon. An early encounter with a spiritual man, the Guru of the Stream, guides her to a divine understanding that underpins her life. Worker Aunt, Appachchi’s sister-in-law, who endures successive personal tragedies with the utmost dignity, is her close confidante and lifelong buttress. Also deeply influenced by the teachings of the Guru of the Stream, she undertakes a trip to Kasi later in life that establishes her as a spiritual fulcrum for the villagers.

Peopled with characters who are eccentric, interesting, and pragmatic, such as the scholarly BA Garu, Appachchi’s husband and Worker Aunt’s brother; Mr Blotton, the Brahma of the Godavari anicut; Nephew, the first to welcome the Guru of the Stream, and others, Those Women of the Coromandel is a story of people trying to find their place in the world as it turns and changes around them.

About the Author

Vadrewu Panduranga Rao, better known as Ranga Rao (1936–2018), was a novelist and academic from the delta districts of Andhra Pradesh. He taught at Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi University, for thirty-seven years and was an honorary lecturer at Sri Sathya Sai University, Andhra Pradesh.

His books include the novels Fowl-Filcher (1987), The Drunk Tantra (1994), and The River Is Three-Quarters Full (2001), and the short story collection An Indian Idyll and Other Stories (1989). He also translated Telugu stories in Classic Telugu Stories (1995) and That Man on the Road (2006). He published several works of literary criticism, notably a monograph on R. K. Narayan, published by the Sahitya Akademi in 2006 and R. K. Narayan the Novelist and His Art (2017). He also published books on the life and teachings of Sathya Sai Baba: Full Flame: Infinite Scenarios (autographed by Bhagavan, 2009); Bal Vikas for Lok Vikas (blessed by Bhagavan) 2010; and Full Flame: Unconditional Love (2015).

Ranga Rao passed away in March 2018; Those Women of the Coromandel is his last work.


Hitopadesha by Narayana – A new English translation by Shonaleeka Kaul 

About the Book

The Hitopadesha—which literally means good advice—was composed in Sanskrit sometime between the ninth and tenth centuries CE by Pandit Narayana. Arranged in four fascinating sections—Winning Friends, Losing Friends, Waging War, and Making Peace—the vignettes that comprise the text include tales of anthropomorphized birds and animals who are imbued with all too human qualities and frailties.

Using humour, satire, and unconventional methods of narration, the stories in the collection prescribe canny and pragmatic responses to a range of very human situations, ambitions, problems, and dilemmas.

Not only does the book have advice for the ruler who is too timid or too haughty, but also for the minister who must serve him, as for the innocent husband with the conniving wife, the beautiful wife with the undeserving husband, friends turned enemies, enemies reconciled, clever people, foolish people, the greedy, the distraught, and so on.

The Hitopadesha, like the Panchatantra, is among the most widely translated classical texts of India. This new version by historian and Sanskritist Shonaleeka Kaul is an idiomatic translation in simple narrative prose and free verse that retains the freshness and wit of the original.

About the Author

Shonaleeka Kaul is a cultural and intellectual historian of early India, specializing in working with Sanskrit texts. She is a professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and has also been the Malathy Singh Distinguished Lecturer in South Asian Studies at Yale University, USA, the Jan Gonda Fellow in Indology at Leiden University, the Netherlands, and DAAD Professor of History at the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, Germany. She has authored, edited, or translated seven books based on classical and vernacular Indian literature.


The Collected Stories of Saadat Hasan Manto: Volume 1 Poona and Bombay translated by Nasreen Rehman

About the Book

Saadat Hasan Manto (1912–1955) needs no introduction. One of the greatest stars of Urdu literature, Manto published over twenty collections of short stories in a literary career spanning almost two decades. Several of these have been adapted into films and plays that have won a multitude of awards and his stories about the 1947 Partition remain some of the best accounts ever written on the catastrophic event. This book is the first of a three-volume series that will contain all of Saadat Hasan Manto’s 255 known stories translated into English for the very first time. Volume I collects fifty-four stories and two essays written by Manto about his time in Bombay and Poona in colonial India. The anthology includes well-known stories like ‘Mummy’ and ‘Janki’, which provide rare insights into the Poona film industry; the fascinating story of ‘Babu Gopinath’; and ‘My Marriage’ and ‘My Sahib’, two essays that read almost like stories. These meticulous translations by award-winning writer and translator Nasreen Rehman, distil the aura that Manto creates of a time, a place, and a moment.

About the Author

Nasreen Rehman is a lapsed economist who worked in the private and public sectors in the UK and Pakistan before she turned to the arts and humanities. A historian of emotions and aesthetics, Nasreen is a translator, an activist, an academic, and an award-winning screenplay writer, who believes in the power of the arts to transform societies. Born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, she divides her time between South Asia and the UK.


Amanat: Women’s Writing from Kazakhstan by Zaure Batayeva (Editor), Shelley Fairweather-Vega (Editor)

About the Book

An unprecedented collection of women’s voices from the heart of Central Asia.

From the foreword by Gabriel Mcguire: “I cannot think of anything quite like … Amanat.

A man is arrested for a single typo, a woman gets on buses at random, and two friends reunite in a changed world…. Diverse in form, scope and style, Amanat brings together the voices of thirteen female Kazakhstani writers, to offer a glimpse into the many lives, stories, and histories of one of the largest countries to emerge from the breakup of the Soviet Union.

The twenty-four stories in Amanat, translated into English from Kazakh and Russian, comprise a groundbreaking survey of women’s writing in the Central Asian country over its thirty years of independence, paying homage to the rich but largely unrecorded oral storytelling tradition of the region. Contemplating nostalgia, politics, and intergenerational history in a time altered by modernity, Amanat acutely traces the uncertainties, struggles, joys, and losses of a corner of the post-Soviet world often unseen and overlooked.

Utterly absorbing, Amanat is an invitation to listen-the women of Kazakhstan have stories to tell.

About the Author

Zaure Batayeva (1969) is the driving force behind this anthology, the one who first dreamed of bringing a collection of Kazakh women’s writing into English. Besides being the author and translator of two pieces included here, and a noted cultural commentator and critic, she is a prolific translator into Kazakh, recently of Sarah Cameron’s groundbreaking historical work, The Hungry Steppe.

Shelley Fairweather-Vega (1978), a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington, translates fiction, poetry, and screenplays from Russian and Uzbek to English. Aside from extensive work with the authors included in this volume, she has translated short stories and novels by the Uzbek writer Hamid Ismailov and the Kazakh musicologist Talasbek Asemkulov, and her translations have been published in Words Without Borders, World Literature Today, Brooklyn Rail, and Translation Review. She has been translating Kazakhstani authors since 2017 and recently completed an intensive course in the Kazakh language.


Movies to Save Our World by Kenneth Paul Tan 

About the Book

A critical reflection on the power of moviemaking to shape our collective imagination of better futures

Through a close analysis of more than seventy popular documentaries and feature movies from around the world, produced in the twenty-first century, this book explores the theme of poverty, inequality, ecological degradation and revolutionary change, all associated with a contemporary crisis of neoliberal globalization in a world where it has become so pervasive. Profit rules, while poverty and inequality make the political ground fertile for populist manipulation. 

The book urges progressive moviemakers to take advantage of advancements in digital technologies and to collaborate, in post-pandemic times, with educators to develop public deliberation skills and inspire a new generation of informed and compassionate change-makers. 

Movies discussed include 28 Days Later, American Psycho, An Inconvenient Truth, Black Panther, Capitalism: A Love Story, City of God, Crazy Rich Asians, Dark Victory, Dawn of the Dead, Downton Abbey, Joker, Parasite, Roger and Me, Shaun of the Dead, The Hunger Games, The Matrix, The Purge, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Train to Busan, Twister, Wall Street, and more.

About the Author

Kenneth Paul TAN is a tenured Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, which hired him under its Talent100 initiative in February 2021. He teaches and conducts interdisciplinary research at the Academy of Film, the Department of Journalism, and the Department of Government and International Studies. He is a member of the university’s Smart Society Lab. His books include Singapore: Identity, Brand, Power (Cambridge University Press, 2018), Governing Global-City Singapore: Legacies and Futures After Lee Kuan Yew (Routledge, 2017), and others.


If you are interested in reviewing any of these titles, please write to editor@kitaabinternational.com.

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