Hello, readers! Welcome to another #5OnMyTBR update. The rule is relatively simple. I just have to pick five books from my to-be-read pile that fit the week’s theme.
This week’s theme: None
Unfortunately, there are still no fresh prompts. Nonetheless, I have decided to go on with the 5 on my TBR list. For this week, I am featuring works of Indian literature. I am planning to hold another Asian literature month later this year, hence, I have been featuring works of Asian literature on my reading list; last week I featured works of Korean literature. Going through the books I have read since I started reading, I noted that my foray into Indian literature has been quite limited. Sure, I have read several of Salman Rushdie’s works but my ventures into the works of other writers from the subcontinent are intermittent. I find my exploration of Indian literature is lacking, hence, this list. Without more ado, here’s my list Happy Monday and happy reading!
5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook where you chose five books from your to-be-read pile that fit that week’s theme. If you’d like more info, head over to the announcement post!
Title: A Fine Balance
Author: Rohinton Mistry
Synopsis: With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India.
The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers–a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village–will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future.
As the characters move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates an enduring panorama of the human spirit in an inhuman state. (Source: Goodreads)
Title: Tomb of Sand
Author: Geetanjali Shree
Translator: Daisy Rockwell
Synopsis: An eighty-year-old woman slips into a deep depression at the death of her husband, then resurfaces to gain a new lease on life. Her determination to fly in the face of convention – including striking up a friendship with a hijra (trans) woman – confuses her bohemian daughter, who is used to thinking of herself as the more ‘modern’ of the two.
At the older woman’s insistence they travel back to Pakistan, simultaneously confronting the unresolved trauma of her teenage experiences of Partition, and re-evaluating what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a woman, a feminist.
Rather than respond to tragedy with seriousness, Geetanjali Shree’s playful tone and exuberant wordplay results in a book that is engaging, funny, and utterly original, at the same time as being an urgent and timely protest against the destructive impact of borders and boundaries, whether between religions, countries, or genders. (Source: Goodreads)
Title: A Suitable Boy
Author: Vikram Seth
Publisher: Phoenix House
Publishing Date: April 1993
No. of Pages: 1,349
Synopsis: ‘It’s Lata,’ said Mrs. Rupa Mehra in a rush. ‘I want you to find her a boy at once. A suitable boy. She is getting involved with unsuitable boys, and I cannot have that.’
Vikram Seth’s novel is, at its core, a love story: the tale of Lata’s – and her mother’s – attempts to find this suitable boy, through love or through exacting maternal appraisal. Set in post-Independence India and involving the lives of four large families and those who orbit them, it is also a vast, panoramic exploration of a whole continent at a crucial hour as a sixth of the world’s population faces its first great General Election and the chance to map its own destiny.
Title: The Inheritance of Loss
Author: Kiran Desai
Synopsis: In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas lives an embittered judge who wants only to retire in peace, when his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep. The judge’s cook watches over her distractedly, for his thoughts are often on his son, Biju, who is hopscotching from one gritty New York restaurant to another. Kiran Desai’s brilliant novel, published to huge acclaim, is a story of joy and despair. Her characters face numerous choices that majestically illuminate the consequences of colonialism as it collides with the modern world. (Source: Goodreads)
Title: Train to Pakistan
Author: Khushwant Singh
Synopsis: “In the summer of 1947, when the creation of the state of Pakistan was formally announced, ten million people—Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs—were in flight. By the time the monsoon broke, almost a million of them were dead, and all of northern India was in arms, in terror, or in hiding. The only remaining oases of peace were a scatter of little villages lost in the remote reaches of the frontier. One of these villages was Mano Majra.”
It is a place, Khushwant Singh goes on to tell us at the beginning of this classic novel, where Sikhs and Muslims have lived together in peace for hundreds of years. Then one day, at the end of the summer, the “ghost train” arrives, a silent, incredible funeral train loaded with the bodies of thousands of refugees, bringing the village its first taste of the horrors of the civil war. Train to Pakistan is the story of this isolated village that is plunged into the abyss of religious hate. It is also the story of a Sikh boy and a Muslim girl whose love endured and transcends the ravages of war. (Source: Goodreads)
Title: The Palace of Illusions
Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Synopsis: A reimagining of the world-famous Indian epic, the Mahabharat—told from the point of view of an amazing woman.
Relevant to today’s war-torn world, The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half history, half myth, and wholly magical. Narrated by Panchaali, the wife of the legendary Pandavas brothers in the Mahabharat, the novel gives us a new interpretation of this ancient tale.
The novel traces the princess Panchaali’s life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father’s kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war involving all the important kings of India. Meanwhile, we never lose sight of her strategic duels with her mother-in-law, her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands’ most dangerous enemy. Panchaali is a fiery female redefining for us a world of warriors, gods, and the ever-manipulating hands of fate. (Source: Goodreads)
Title: The Lost Song of Dusk
Author: Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi
Synopsis: When the astonishingly lovely Anuradha moves to Bombay to marry Vardhmaan, a charming young doctor, their life together has all the makings of a fairy tale. But when their firstborn son dies in a terrible accident, tragedy transforms their marriage into a bleak landscape. As the pair starts fresh in a heartbroken old villa by the sea, they are joined by Nandini, a dazzling and devious artist with a trace of leopard blood in her veins. While Nandini flamboyantly takes on Bombay’s art scene, the couple attempts to mend their marriage, eventually discovering that real love, mercurial and many-hued, is given and received in silence. Sensuous and electric, achingly moving and wickedly funny, The Last Song of Dusk is a tale of fate that will haunt your heart like an old and beloved song. (Source: Goodreads)