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Manjul Bajaj’s debut novel is a strong, passionate story well told. The author offers insights into the culture, history and psyche of the Jat people of northern India’s heartland. Set in a Jat hamlet near Delhi in 1909, this is a tale of proud, upright men and women who will die to uphold the honor of family, community and country. The subtle feminist approach works well with full blooded women juxtaposed against well fleshed out and likeable male characters. The novel begins as a smoldering love story, with the threat of deadly social taboos simmering in the backdrop. The author interweaves social practices which sadly continue even today in pockets of rural India, such as the terrible practice of honor killings.
K. R. Usha’s latest novel takes a fresh, deeply sensitive and insightful look at life in Bangalore, India’s fastest growing city. Shortlisted for the for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and winner of the Vodaphone Crossword prize for her previous novel, A GIRL AND A RIVER, this consummate storyteller takes readers into the heart of a city zooming beyond the technological stratosphere while teetering on the brink of chaos.
Karachi, 11 March. The Pakistani-American author, Danyal Mueenuddin won the regional (Europe and South Asia) Commonwealth Writers Prize 2010 for the Best First Book for his story collection Other Rooms Other Wonders set mostly in Southern Punjab where he farms. The judges considered the book “remarkable for its clear, exact prose and its wide scope … the short sharp pithy
observations and details” according to Muneeza Shamsie the Regional Chairperson of the CWP 2010.
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The Routledge Concise History of Southeast Asian Writing in English
By Rajeev S. Patke and Philip Holden
Routledge, 272 pp
It can be argued that Southeast Asian Writing in English has not achieved as much attention as African Writing in English or Indian Writing in English, even though English as a language reached most parts of the world wave after wave as a result of colonialism in the 19th and 20th centuries. Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Manila have been major outposts under British and American colonialism, but the output in English from these big Asian cities has not made much impact on the global literary landscape, the same way that writings from India or Africa have. Where is Southeast Asia’s answer to Midnight Children or a House for Mr. Biswas or Things Fall Apart?