Civil Lines 3. New Writing from India
Ed. Rukun Advani; Ravi Dayal; pp 153; Rs 125
He's Hindu, but nice. Good business also he has. So many people are marrying like that. Lancy also. She's his PA?'
'Never. Who told to you? She's doing some computers.'
'Where they are living now? Same bungalow where a lot of foreign people are staying? I can hear them talking every time.'
'No foreign people are there, Bel. You mus' b hearing BCC TNT TV or something.'
'You can hear somebody breathing, Maria?' 'Somebody is breathing. Cross-connection I think.'
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First Light. A novel.
Sunil Gangopadhayay;Penguin; pp 753; Rs 395
Set at the turn of the 20th century in a Bengal where the old and the young are jostling for space….among its many characters are Rabindranath Tagore or Robi, the young, dreamy poet; …and the handsome, dynamic Naren Datta, later to become Swami Vivekananda, who abandons his Brahmo Samaj leanings and surrenders himself to his guru, Sri Ramakrishna. The story also touches upon the lives of the men and women rising to the call of nationalism; …doctors… determined to pull their land out of the morass of superstition…the growing theatre movement of Bengal. It is a chronicle of a whole nation waking up to a new, modern sensibility.
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The Glass Palace
Amitav Ghosh;Ravi Dayal; pp 552; Rs 195
Rajkumar is only a boy, helping out on a market stall in the dusty square outside the royal palace in Mandalay, when the British force the Burmese King, Queen and court into exile. The novel grasps the reach and fall of empires across the 20th century….follows the British arrival in Mandalay and the shattering of the kingdom of the Glass Palace. Rajkumar, a stateless orphan, lifted on the tides of chaos deep into the teak forests of upper Burma…where he will make his fortune and from where he leaves to find Dolly, a child attendant of the Royal entourage…The story spans three generations, a war, and an extraordinary civilization.
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Requiem for an Unsung Revolutionary *
Manju Kak;Ravi Dayal; pp 177; Rs 150
The stories deal with people across a broad spectrum: from the depressive visionary Inquilaab in search of an unattainable ideal, to the displaced migrant servant Bisheshvar, to the angry old women waiting for death. Collectively, the stories span the cycle of life, from childhood to old age…
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