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Adventure, identity and Africa on bookshelf


(IANS Books This Week)

New Delhi : Warm up this week with a pile of exciting and diverse books ranging from history and identity to magic realism.

1. Book: “Shadowland”; Written by Chitra Banerjee Divakarauni; Published by Roli Books; Priced at Rs.195

Anand, the hero of the Brotherhood of Conch series is settling down to a life of an apprentice at the Silver Valley nestled in the Himalayas. But suddenly, his lush home is reduced to a barren wasteland when his beloved conch, the source of magical energy, is stolen by an unknown force.

Anand sets off on an adventure with his friend Nisha into the cold and forbidding world of Shadowland to retrieve the stolen conch and restore it to its rightful place and his home to its original splendour. An adventure saga full of magical realism.

2. Book: “Blue Boy”; Written by Rakesh Satyal; Published by Roli Books; Priced at Rs.295

As an only son, Kiran has obligations to find a nice Indian girl, and make his parents proud. But if only Kiran had anything in common with other Indian kids besides the colour of skin. They reject him at every turn. And American schoolmates are no better. Kiran’s no-so-well kept secrets do not endear him to any of his friends.

Playing with dolls, choosing ballet over basketball, taking the school’s talent show too seriously… the very things that make Kiran what he is also makes him the star of his own personal freak show. One day, a revelation points to the mystery behind his existence and leads him to a journey into the unknown.

3. Book: “India: A Portrait”; Written by Patrick French; Published by Penguin-Allen Lane; Priced at Rs.699

The independence of India was a time of hope and uncertainty in equal measure. It was also a time of accelerated history when every decision – whether considered or arbitrary – had a lasting impact on its vast and diverse populace. In the decades since, India has evolved into a globally prominent nation of enormous promise and achievement, great contradictions and conflict.

In this landmark book, Patrick French, author of the acclaimed bestseller “Liberty or Death: India’s Journey to Independence and Division”, chronicles the epic change.

4. Book: “Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan”; Written by M.J. Akbar; Published by Harper-Collins India; Priced at Rs.499

The writer embarks on a historical whodunit to trace the journey of ideas, events, people, circumstances and mindset that divided India. The investigation spans a thousand years and has an extraordinary cast: visionaries, opportunists, statesmen, tyrants, plunderers, generals, and an unusual collection of theologians, beginning with Shah Waliullah who created a ‘theory of distance’ to protect ‘Islamic identity’ from Hindus and Hinduism.

Akbar brings an impressive array of research, perception and analysis to solve this puzzle, writing the story in a fluent, engaging style that makes a difficult subject deceptively accessible.

5. Book: “Beyond Silence”; Written by Kusum Ansal; Published by Roli Books; Priced at Rs.295

Anvita, a young woman from a small town of north India finds herself living amid the Indian community of a rapidly changing South Africa. As she begins to build her life there, she sees the full complexity of the rainbow nation learning about the horrors of its racist and exploitative past and witnessing the troubles first hand. They range from the AIDS epidemic to the endemic violence. At the same time, she struggles with the demands of family relationships – just both past and present; and those of her career.