Spanning half a life, My Father’s Garden tells the story of a young doctor—the unnamed narrator—as he negotiates love and sexuality, his need for companionship, and the burdens of memory and familial expectation.
The opening section, ‘Lover’, finds him studying medicine in Jamshedpur. At college, he discovers an all-consuming passion for Samir, a junior, who possesses his body, mind and heart. Yet, on their last morning together, when he asks Samir to kiss him goodbye, his lover tells him, ‘A kiss is only for someone special.’
In ‘Friend’, the young doctor, escaping heartbreak, finds relief in Pakur where he strikes up an unusual friendship with Bada Babu, the head clerk of the hospital where he is posted. In Bada Babu’s house, they indulge a shared love for drink, delicious food and convivial company. But when government bulldozers arrive to tear down the neighbourhood, and Bada Babu’s house, the young doctor uncovers a sordid tale of apathy and exploitation—and a side to his new friend that leaves him disillusioned.
And in ‘Father’, unable, ultimately, to flee the pain, the young doctor takes refuge in his parents’ home in Ghatsila. As he heals, he reflects on his father—once a vital man who had phenomenal success at work and in Adivasi politics, then an equally precipitous downfall—and wonders if his obsessive gardening has anything to do with the choices his son has made.
Written with deep empathy and searing emotional intensity, and in the clear, unaffected prose that is the hallmark of Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s style, My Father’s Garden marks a major talent of Indian fiction writing at the top of his form.
Young and idealistic, Janaki is eager to serve the cause of justice as a lawyer. Her only confidant is Ajoba, an elderly friend of her grandfather’s, who supported her throughout her childhood. They are unrelated by blood or marriage ties, but they have both lost their own families. So together, they struggle to create a family, patched together perhaps, but stronger for it.
As this gripping novel unfolds, the two characters in turn tell the traumatic story of how they came together: how Janaki being the eyewitness to a gruesome crime led to years of court cases and police investigations; the toll it took on the members of her immediate family; the ways in which Ajoba and Janaki each overcome their immediate prejudices to connect with each other; and the impact of the judicial system’s vagaries on each of their worldviews. Written in spare, unadorned and confident prose, A Patchwork Family is a debut novel of unusual wisdom and maturity.
In a small forest, a hare convinces his friends—a monkey, a jackal and a water-weasel—to share their food with the hungry. But when the hare finds nothing to eat, and a fairy disguised as an old man comes asking for food, what does the hare do?
The king of monkeys asks his tribe to keep the delicious mangoes in their forest a secret from humans. But what happens when Brahmadatta, the king of humans, discovers the fruit and wants more of it?
A king spots the mysterious and beautiful deer, Sarabha, deep in the woods. He wishes to capture it but falls into a deep chasm on the way. Will Sarabha rescue him?
The twenty stories in Great Jataka Tales, retold by the remarkable writer Noor Inayat Khan, have been drawn from the Buddha’s former lives and the legends around him. These tales bring alive a world from long, long ago: a world that shows the importance of courage, compassion, non-violence and love. Written in simple, dramatic prose and beautifully illustrated in full colour, these magical stories will enchant a new generation of readers.
In The Heart Breaks Free, set in pre-Independence UP, Bua, a free-spirited woman in a conservative Muslim household, is goaded into submission by the women in the family. But even as Bua surrenders to the forces of circumstance, Qudsia Apa, an uncomplaining abandoned wife, stuns everyone by transforming into a rebel. She rejects the life of celibacy and denial forced upon her and picks her own life partner, showing future generations the value and pleasure of subversion.
The Wild One is the love story of a servant girl, Asha, and her ‘master’, Puran, in a feudal household where such a relationship can only be a horror and a tragedy unless it is conducted in secret and quickly forgotten. Yet, when Puran can’t muster the strength to defy his class, it is gutsy Asha who manages to beat the odds and win him for herself.
Provocative, witty and intensely human as always, Chughtai delivers in these novellas scathing critiques of the cant and hypocrisy of Indian society.
This title will be available by 25 November 2018
Stillborn Season opens with the assassination of Indira Gandhi in October 1984. Brilliantly evoking the homicidal madness of the days which followed, the novel traces the fates of individual and intermeshed lives as mobs spill out onto the streets of Delhi, hunting, maiming and killing Sikh men and women in revenge.
Raiders come at midnight for Jaspreet Singh, an elderly gentleman from South Delhi, and he narrowly escapes with his life after his granddaughter Amrit thinks up an unusual disguise for him. Hari, part of a mob, invades an upscale restaurant in Connaught Place and helps burn the proprietor alive before demanding a bespoke meal from the chef. Balbir, hiding inside a cabinet in his store in Punjabi Bagh, bears witness to Hari being gunned down by his store-assistant. And Bhola, a young disabled beggar at the busy Bhikaji Cama intersection, keeps a Sikh father and son from being lynched.
Then, moving forward in time, the novel finds Amrit, now a young journalist, talking to people to understand the violence that scarred her childhood. She learns how the books of Nai Sarak were saved because Rikhi Chacha, a Sikh book-lover, gave up his life for them. At the house of Satwant, a Sikh taxi-driver, she pays the cost of dredging up memories in people who would rather forget them. And Balwant Mann, a retired constable of Delhi Police, divulges more about his role in the riots to her than he intends to.
Rarely has a work of fiction captured the violence of 1984 with as much empathy and on such an expansive canvas. Stillborn Season is a must read.
This title will be available by 25 November 2018
A prince sets out on an adventure and is joined by a talking parrot and the ‘Ant-Raja’. Together, can they win the heart of the beautiful Princess Labam?
Gangazara, the soothsayer’s son, rescues the tiger-king, the serpent-king and the rat-king from a well. But did he make a grave mistake when he also rescued the cunning goldsmith?
A boy is born with the mark of the moon on his forehead and a star on his chin but his enemies want to kill him as soon as he is born. Can he overcome his cruel destiny and return to his rightful kingdom?
Also in these pages are stories about animals both wise and cruel—a tiger tricked into returning to his cage by a jackal, a crane outwitted by a crab, and the cat, dog and mice who pit their wits against crafty humans.
Brave girls, adventurous men, wily tricksters and loyal friends populate this book, bringing alive an imagined world from long, long ago. Beautifully illustrated in colour and introduced by Jerry Pinto, these fairy tales are as unique as they are unforgettable and will ignite the imagination of a new generation of readers.
This title will be available by 15 November 2018
Partition, Independence, democracy—near simultaneous events that changed India irrevocably. My Temples, Too—Qurratulain Hyder’s transcreation of her masterly early novel Mere Bhi Sanamkhane—examines the promise and disillusionment that came with the birth of two new nations, through the lives and deaths of the young citizens of the fabled city of Lucknow. Set in the 1940s, it tells the story of Rakshanda and her brother Peechu—children of privilege—and their friends Kiran, Vimal, Salim, Christabel. They are the ‘Gang’ of Lucknow; idealistic, nationalistic, liberal and rational. They meet in coffee houses, run a progressive magazine, fall in love, and dream of building a brave new world. But with the turbulence of Partition and Independence, the quiet rhythm of their lives is brutally disrupted. New animosities replace old loyalties, and the merry ‘Gang’ is torn apart as the old order begins to fragment.
This title will be available by 15 November 2018
The song of the boatman on the Padma, a green haze of rice fields turning to gold in the light of the setting sun, the romance of Bengal caught and held in the silvery net of a fisherman. Ambitious, subtle and intricately structured, Fireflies in the Mist—Hyder’s transcreation of her Urdu novel Akhir-e-Shab ke Humsafar—spans nearly four decades of East Bengal’s history, from the dawn of nationalism in the 1930s to the restless aftermath of the bloody struggle for an independent Bangladesh. At the centre of the novel is Deepali Sarkar, a young Hindu attracted to the extreme left wing of the nationalist movement, and Rehan Ahmed, a Muslim radical of Marxist inclinations who introduces her to the life of the rural deprived. Their common political engagement draws them into a quietly doomed love affair. Through their relationship, Hyder explores the growth of tension between Bengal’s Hindus and Muslims—who had once shared a culture and a history—as they try to come to terms with Bengal’s and India’s shifting fortunes.
‘If you live in the Indian hills, it is only a matter of time before you meet a ghost…’
Vintage storyteller Ruskin Bond has created many unforgettable characters in his novels and stories, but perhaps the most memorable and unusual among them are the ghosts and spirits that haunt the hills and foothills of the Himalayas—the bazaars and bungalows, jungles and gardens of Mussoorie, Shimla, Nainital, Dehradun. These ghosts are not always horrific; they are mysterious and often benevolent, or lonely creatures looking for company among humans. Collected in these pages are new stories written specifically for this volume—including Captain Young’s Ghost and The Black Bird—and classics such as A Face in the Dark and The Haunted Bicycle. Here you will find the spirit of a captain from the British army who, on some nights, returns to the town he founded and never outgrew; a little boy, long dead, who continues to guide passers-by on treacherous mountain routes; a beautiful young girl from long ago who seduces young men with her song, and another who longs for the warmth of a happy family.
Set in the hills and foothills of North India—the perfect haunt for ghosts and spirits—this collection by the master storyteller will leave you spellbound.
A man comes home to find a note from Bindo—his estranged lover—asking to meet. Everything about Bindo angers him—her beauty, pride and poise; the sexual attraction she continues to exert upon him. He recognizes in himself again the agonizing jealousy which had forced her to leave him. And he fears her uncanny ability to pierce the barriers he has erected around himself.
Yet the two meet—in each other’s houses, in restaurants and parks across Delhi—still attracted to each other but haunted by their past, still inflicting pain, locked in a battle of doomed love. But when, after a drunken evening, he wakes up in Bindo’s bed, at her feet, he finds himself stripped of all ego, and helpless.
Bold and ahead of its time, Relapse is an intense exploration of physical and emotional desire and the inscrutable ways of men and women in love. A compact love story of visceral impact, and a portrait of Delhi that now exists only in memory, Relapse is a modern classic.