Owlet, Not Out

September 27, 2018

Ritesh, also known as Tubby, has joined the Jai-Hind International School in Delhi along with his twin sister, Smokey. Tubby is an astonishingly gifted cricketer and is soon in the school cricketing team. That is the easy part. The difficult part is being befriended by Jyotsna, better known as Patki, the soft-hearted, big-eyed, wrestling champion who sits next to him in class. Patki is determined to be his friend, even though all Tubby wants is to glower quietly and think about and practice cricket. But soon he finds himself accompanying Patki to a nearby ancient cemetery where they befriend the mynas, parakeets and an owlet called Owlet. Then, on the day of the most important cricket match of the year, to his great dismay, Tubby finds Owlet in grave danger.
What will he choose now: sports, fame and glory—or compassion, kindness and a chance to be a real friend? Ranjit Lal’s new novel about school, cricket and friendship is as funny as it is thought-provoking and will charm readers of all ages.

Masooma

September 27, 2018

Set in the film world of the 1950s, this powerful novel may well be regarded as a work that celebrates all the talents of the legendary Ismat Chughtai—a writer who was brave, frank, provocative, entertaining even when she told the darkest of stories, and impossible to ignore. It traces the journey of Masooma—the innocent one—a young woman from a once wealthy family of Hyderabad who arrives with her mother in Bombay to become a star, but is soon embroiled in a game of exploitation, lust and treachery. She is transformed into Nilofar, a commodity that can be easily bought and sold; and in an effort to survive brutal and rapacious men—producers, actors, pimps and procurers—the mother and daughter descend into a world of corruption and moral decay themselves.

A Very Strange Man

September 27, 2018

This brilliant translation of Ismat Chughtai’s original Urdu novel Ajeeb Aadmi is the riveting story of Dharam Dev, the famous actor, director and producer, and his all-consuming and doomed passion for Zarina Jamal, the young dancer from Madras whom he brings to Bombay and transforms into a charismatic actress. He looks on in anguish as his betrayed wife, Mangala, a well-known playback singer, sinks slowly into alcoholism. When Zarina abandons him, he is overwrought and dies of an overdose, friendless and alone.
In an interview, Chughtai described this novel about the Bombay film industry as a story based on the life of a producer-director who killed himself after the dancer he had made into a star left him in the lurch. ‘I go into why he commits suicide,’ she said, ‘why girls run after him and producers like him, and the hell they make for these men and for their wives.’
This irreverent, sharply observed narrative of infatuation and ambition is vintage Chughtai.

A City Happens in Love

August 29, 2018

A boy from Bihar living in Lajpat Nagar likes a momo-seller from the Northeast; she likes him too, but when he gifts her a token from his village, his dreams come crashing down. Samar travels with his beloved in a DTC bus in Delhi, the only space in the city where they can meet, but he’s afraid to call out her name for fear it will be recognized. A couple shelters from rain underneath a flyover, hoping for a moment of seclusion, but staring eyes pour water on their dreams. And a girl lets herself into her lover’s rented room, finds a bunch of letters from his past flames, and leaves him an unusual farewell note.
In these crisp, powerful, micro stories, the celebrated journalist, TV anchor and writer Ravish Kumar brings alive the love, longing and heartbreak which flourish in the city’s spaces. And even as lovers find the niches they need, the city itself shapes their relationships.
Brilliantly translated from the bestselling Hindi original Ishq Mein Shahar Hona, A City Happens in Love is a tribute to the modern Indian city, its capaciousness, and to the power of love.

Sky Is My Father: A Naga Village Remembered

August 29, 2018

Between 1832 and 1880, the Angami warriors of Khonoma were a beacon of Naga resistance against the British, carrying out raids and disrupting the forced recruitment of the Nagas as bonded labourers. In this richly detailed historical novel—the first Naga novel to appear in English—Hindu Prize winner Easterine Kire brings alive Khonoma of the nineteenth century, a natural fortress nestled amidst high mountains. Life in the far-flung Naga hills was ordered by the seasons and the ceaseless labour of both women and men in the fields; by social taboos, rituals and festivals. Young men grew up on stories of valiant battles with rival villages, tigers, spirits and the British. Everyone had a deep connection with the land, and they took pride in fighting and toiling for it.
The Khonoma warriors clashed with the British a number of times, stirring other Naga villages to join them as well. After the death of an officer in 1879, the British laid siege upon the tiny village. But despite being outumbered and ill-equipped, Khonoma held out against them for four long months, eventually signing a peace treaty on 27 March, 1880.
Originally published to great acclaim as A Naga Village Remembered, this revised edition weaves together meticulous research, oral narratives and fabulous prose, to tell the story of a proud and remarkable community reckoning with radical change—within and without.

Shillong Times

August 29, 2018

When fourteen-year-old Debojit Dutta meets the slightly older Clint Eastwood Lyngdoh in his maths tuition classes, he is wary of his cigarette-smoking, whisky-swilling ways. Besides, Debu has only recently escaped a bunch of local ruffians who wanted him to ‘go back home to Bangladesh’.
But Debu is unable to resist being friends with Clint. For, in return for doing his maths homework, Clint introduces him to a completely new life: the heady charms of Kalsang, the Chinese restaurant forbidden by Debu’s mother; the revolutionary sounds of Pink Floyd; and most importantly, the coolest, prettiest girl in town—Audrey Pariat. Audrey loves maths and detective stories, just like Debu, and does not make him feel awkward or exotic. Together, the three of them look set to embark on many adventures. But when tensions between the Khasi and Bengali communities boil over, Shillong becomes a battlefield—old neighbours become outsiders and the limits of friendship are challenged.
With crackling energy, Nilanjan P. Choudhury immerses us in the tumultuous lives of Debu, his friends and his family, and their attempts to find love and belonging. Written with uncommon warmth, humour and a delightful evocation of place, Shillong Times is an exhilarating coming-of-age story—showing us how friendship can eclipse the hardened enmities of adulthood.

The Wayward Daughter

August 29, 2018

Sumnima Tamule is in a crisis. Her friends at Rhododendron High School—all girls from semi-royal and other rich families—will soon be going abroad, but she, with second-division marks in her final exams, might have to settle for a grimy little college in town. Her parents, plodding away in middle-class Kathmandu, are deeply disappointed, and all their hopes are now pinned on Numa, her sister. Sundry cousins from their village in far-off Lungla—driven out by poverty and the warring Maoists—come to live with the family, trample upon her privacy, and wage kitchen politics with Boju, her foul-tongued grandmother. Other relatives embarrass her with their gauche village ways. And, worst of all, Sagar, Sumnima’s US-returned RJ boyfriend, for whom she has been lying, sneaking around and stealing money from home, keeps her waiting for his phone calls.
Employing a rich cast of characters, The Wayward Daughter tells the story of a young girl seeking out love, finding herself and her own spaces in life. Equally, it draws a telling portrait of Kathmandu—its class and caste divisions, its cosmopolitanism which exists alongside conservative attitudes, and its politics due to which a civil war looms. Written with humour, empathy and skill, this novel is a must-read.

Son of the Thundercloud

August 29, 2018

Winner of Book of the Year (Fiction) Tata Literature Live! Awards 2017 and the Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2018.

After losing all his family in a terrible famine, a man leaves his village with just the clothes on his back, never once looking back. For endless miles he walks through a landscape as desolate as his heart. Until two ancient women who have waited for rain for four hundred years lead him to the Village of Weavers where a prophecy will be fulfilled. A single drop of rain will impregnate the tiger-widow and her son will slay the spirit-tiger. The traveller will help the woman bring up the boy. He will witness miracles and tragedy and come close to finding a home again. And he will learn that love and life are eternal.
In her new novel, Easterine Kire, winner of the Hindu Prize, combines lyrical storytelling with the magic and wisdom of Naga legends to produce an unforgettable, life-affirming fable.

A Spy in Time

July 27, 2018

In Enver Eleven’s city, fair-skinned people are a rarity and have been for centuries. Those who remain apply skin-darkening creams to conceal their condition. Johannesburg is the city that survived the end of the world when a supernova hit, thanks to the shelter provided by the thousands of miles of mining tunnels running beneath it.
A spy for the Historical Agency, making sure the end of the world never happens again is Enver Eleven’s task. Enver and his mentor, Shanumi Six, time-travel between past and future, in Marrakech, Rio de Janeioro, Tokyo—in search of an elusive enemy plotting against the Agency. When Shanumi vanishes on assignment Enver finds himself in the middle of a catastrophe which will require him to put his assumptions to the test in an atmosphere of conspiracy and intrigue that harkens back (and forward) to John le Carré and Ray Bradbury. Enver must prove that he is no double agent, an allegation as frightening as a white skin in a world where it has all but vanished.
But if you could go back and change the past, would the future turn out the way you want it to? Imraan Coovadia’s dazzlingly original A Spy in Time is an extraordinary tale for extraordinary times.

Hostage

July 27, 2018

Hari Prasad, a boatman living by the banks of the Rapti in the plains of Nepal, is saddled with debts and responsibility for his three children and wife. Left with no other option, he seeks employment in the Gulf. After five years of working at a resort in a desert near Dubai, he is able to pay off his loans, reclaim his ancestral land, put his children through school, and return home. But when he witnesses the terror that has crept into everyday life in Nepal due to tensions between the government and Maoist factions, he considers returning to the higher-paying job in Jordan. After reassuring himself and his family of a better future, Hari Prasad leaves—unaware of the fate awaiting him there.
Written with rare sensitivity and a keen understanding of the lives of poor migrant workers, Hostage is the moving story of one of the thousands who flee the social and political upheaval of their country in search of a better life

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