Punjabi Centuries: Tracing Histories of Punjab, Anshu Malhotra (ed) (Orient BlackSwan, April 2024)
Punjabi Centuries: Tracing Histories of Punjab, Anshu Malhotra (ed) (Orient BlackSwan, April 2024)

The historical and territorial space of Punjab has been politically and spatially unstable and changing, What Punjab means to different people also varies over time and context. Equally, what one holds dear about Punjab, the sense of “Punjabiyat/Punjabiness”, is both emotionally and culturally complex.

Joy, Despair, Illusion, Dreams: Twenty Plays from the Nō Tradition, Royall Tyler (trans) (Columbia University Press, April 2024)
Joy, Despair, Illusion, Dreams: Twenty Plays from the Nō Tradition, Royall Tyler (trans) (Columbia University Press, April 2024)

Nō drama, which integrates speech, song, dance, music, mask, and costume into a distinctive art form, is among Japan’s most revered cultural traditions. It gained popularity in the fourteenth century, when the actor and playwright Zeami (1363–1443) drew the favor of the shogun with his theatrical innovations. Nō’s intricacies and highly stylized conventions continue to attract Japanese and Western appreciation, and a repertoire of some 250 plays is performed today.

The Band, Christine Ma-Kellams (Atria, April 2034)
The Band, Christine Ma-Kellams (Atria, April 2034)

This whip-smart, darkly funny, and biting debut follows a psychologist with a savior complex who offers shelter to a recently cancelled K-pop idol on the run. Sang Duri is the eldest member and “visual” of a Korean boy band at the apex of global superstardom. But when his latest solo single accidentally leads to controversy, he’s abruptly cancelled.

The Dawn of the Warrior Age: War Tales from Medieval Japan, Royall Tyler (trans), (Columbia University Press, April 2024)
The Dawn of the Warrior Age: War Tales from Medieval Japan, Royall Tyler (trans), (Columbia University Press, April 2024)

The war between the Heike and Genji clans in the 13th and 13th centuries is among the most compelling and significant moments in Japan’s history, immortalized in The Tale of the Heike. Beyond the events recorded in this canonical text, the conflicts of the surrounding years are crucial to medieval Japanese culture and history. In 1156, power began to slip away from the court nobility in Kyoto. A shogunate was later founded in Kamakura, and in 1221, it won a decisive victory over the court.

Gandhi’s Australia, Australia’s Gandhi, Thomas Weber (Orient BlackSwan, March 2024)
Gandhi’s Australia, Australia’s Gandhi, Thomas Weber (Orient BlackSwan, March 2024)

Gandhi’s importance in the Western world, and his interaction with foreign visitors, have been well-documented. However, most of these accounts have focused on Britain and the United States. Today, as India’s diaspora grows in numbers and influence, the inspiration of Gandhi in other parts of the world needs to be understood. This is particularly true of Australia.

Impossible Speech: The Politics of Representation in Contemporary Korean Literature and Film, Christopher P Hanscom (Columbia University Press, March 2024)
Impossible Speech: The Politics of Representation in Contemporary Korean Literature and Film, Christopher P Hanscom (Columbia University Press, March 2024)

In what ways can or should art engage with its social context? Authors, readers, and critics have been preoccupied with this question since the dawn of modern literature in Korea. Advocates of social engagement have typically focused on realist texts, seeing such works as best suited to represent injustices and inequalities by describing them as if they were before our very eyes.