Shekhar Gupta’s book is a handy compendium that illustrates a tumultuous timeline, writes Pradyot Lal
Armed with an unpretentious style and powered by the sheer pull which political anecdote and gossip has for the great Indian middle class, Shekhar Gupta has effectively sustained his column week after week. He writes on subjects as varied as the last relics of the quota raj to the decline in the fortunes of the Indian National Congress, and has sought to position himself as an involved bystander in the world around him. Read more
Shamini Flint began her career in law in Malaysia and also worked at Linklaters in Singapore in their capital markets and corporate insolvency practice. She traveled extensively around Asia for her work, before resigning to be a stay-at-home mum, writer, part-time lecturer and environmental activist.
Her Inspector Singh Investigates novels are published by Little, Brown and have been translated into many languages. Titles include Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder, Inspector Singh Investigates: A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul, Inspector Singh Investigates: The Singapore School of Villainy, Inspector Singh Investigates: A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree and Inspector Singh Investigates: A Curious Indian Cadaver. Her most recent is Inspector Singh Investigates: A Calamitous Chinese Killing (Sept 2013). “It’s impossible not to warm to the portly, sweating, dishevelled, wheezing Inspector Singh …” – The Guardian.
Shamini also writes children’s novels. Her latest books for kids are Diary of a Track and Field Titan and Diary of a Super Swimmer published by Allen&Unwin, Australia and Puffin, India.
Kitaab presents an interview with this talented and prolific writer. Read more
S M Mushrif’s book (26/11 Probe: Why Judiaciary Also Failed, a sequel to Who Killed Karkare: The Real Face of Terrorism in India) is a powerful indictment of the IB and the Hindutva groups, and should compell the authorities to give an honest answer, says Ram Puniyani in Tehelka
SM Mushrif does a commendable job of collating all the available evidence and coming out with a revelatory book, Who Killed Karkare: The Real Face of Terrorism in India. In summary, Mushrif challenges the theory put forward by police and argues that apart from eight terrorists who landed from Pakistan, there were two more who were from the Hindutva groups, who had, in collaboration with the Intelligence Bureau (IB), taken advantage of the knowledge that Pakistani terrorists were coming to Mumbai. But instead of alerting the Navy and other authorities concerned, who could have averted the attack, the IB played a different game. Hindutva groups swung into action and planned to eliminate Karkare. When he was doing his job meticulously, the Hindutva political group Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna wrote in the editorial that they’d spit on the face of Karkare. The present prime ministerial candidate from BJP, Narendra Modi, called Karkare anti-national.
New thriller Nazi Goreng is a great read and also gives some interesting insight into the world of Asian musical subcultures writes Mike Dines.
Nazi Goreng: Young Malay Fanatic Skinheads is the first novel from the travel writer, musician and freelance journalist Marco Ferrarese. Set around two protagonists – the rather naïve Asrul and his racist counterpart Malik – Nazi Goreng tells the story of two individuals who decide to away from the Malaysian provinces to the big city of Pulau Pinang with an intention to cause racial violence in the name of Kuasa Melayu (Malay Power). Instead of racial hatred however, the two get entangled in the seedy world of Malaysia’s drug wars, meeting an array of dangerous and colourful individuals: from gun toting Nigerians and corrupt policemen, to Iranian drug smugglers and an enigmatic Chinese drug mule. Furthermore, it is here that their identity as Malay skinheads become blurred, and the ethos of Kuasa Melayu is drawn into question as the colour of skin and cultural background are often forgotten for the sake of keeping alive.
Victoria James reviews Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art in The Japan Times
It looks like a classic coffee-table book, a hefty hardback of more than 500 pages and almost as many color illustrations — but be careful who you ask round for coffee if you’re displaying the latest volume from the British Museum. That’s because it’s the lavish accompaniment to its new exhibition, “Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art.” Almost every one of those hundreds of pictures, including some in glorious, meter-long fold-out, is an example of the titular Japanese erotic art of “spring pictures,” or shunga. Read more
Jhumpa Lahiri has published her fourth novel, “The Lowland.” At her Brooklyn home (she now divides her time between New York and Rome), Lahiri discusses the mysteries, frustrations, and universality of the creative process.
Watch the video here
Anindita Borah reviews Ritu Lalit’s Chakra
In Chakra, Ritu Lalit weaves a tale so intriguing that it keeps you awake till the wee hours of morning. And ever so reluctantly that you put it down … it is the first thing that you pick up in the morning again. One look at the cover of the book and you are drawn in by the mysterious and captivating eyes. And the book surely lives up to its expectations. A touch of magic realism – mixing of the mundane with the supernatural has made it an exciting read right till the end. Read more
Five Finalists Chosen for the 2013 Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Book Award
Five books recognized for their outstanding contributions to the understanding of Asia have been chosen as finalists for the 2013 Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Book Award. The finalists were selected from over 100 nominations submitted by U.S. and Asia-based publishers for books published in 2012. The books are:
‘Satanic Verses’ author attacks rise of religious and political tribalism that makes people define themselves by what they hate (The Independent)
The Booker Prize-winning novelist Salman Rushdie spoke out against a new “culture of offendedness” yesterday, saying that people increasingly “define ourselves by hate”.
Speaking to a sellout crowd on the opening day of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Midnight’s Children author said: “I do think that one of the characteristics of our age is the growth of this culture of offendedness. It has to do with the rise of identity politics, where you’re invited to define your identity quite narrowly – you know, Western, Islamic, whatever it might be.”
Prolific Bengali writer and Sahitya Akademi president Sunil Gangopadhyay passed away on Tuesday morning in his Kolkata residence. He was 78-years-old.
He was unwell for the last couple of days and breathed his last in the wee hours of Navami morning bringing an era of Bengali literature to an end.
According to initial reports by Star Ananda, he had been unwell since yesterday but his condition but not critical enough to be hospitalised. He suffered a heart attack at around 2.50 in the morning.
Sunil Gangopadhyay. Wikimedia Commons Image