Loosely inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Sonali Dev’s new book is enriched with culinary allusions, replete with the aromas of tea and spice and based in a modern South Asian family (of royal lineage), as was her prior Austen revamp.
Just around the corner from Rome’s Pantheon, on the Via di Sant’Ignazio, is the famed Biblioteca Casanatense. Among its precious books and manuscripts is an album of 76 striking watercolours made in Goa around 1540, the work of an anonymous Indian painter for an unknown Portuguese patron.
When Mary Morris is awarded a sabbatical year from teaching at Sarah Lawrence College, she planned to travel with her husband and adult daughter. A travel writer and novelist, Morris enjoys nothing more than roaming around other countries. But then a freak accident on the ice rink shattered her ankle; her dreams of traveling for a year broke into as many pieces, too.
Diksha Basu’s Destination Wedding is a delightful comedy of manners, about relationships among an extended clan of Indian-American wedding-goers. Cast as a sort of Crazy Rich South Asians, the destination is Delhi. The wedding is that of Shefali and Pavan, a thoroughly-modern couple of rich kids with wacky families, whose wedding, unbeknownst to them, is the first ever staged by Bubbles Trivedi, their larger-than-life wedding planner.
The opening section of Shubhangi Swarup’s debut novel is set in India’s tropical Andaman Islands. Forestry Minister, Girija Prasad, marries clairvoyant Chanda Devi: he works with trees, she converses with them.
Waheeda Rela finds her life in politics (in a fictional district in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in the late 1990s) decided by a chit drawn from a bowl. Fundraising and campaigning have her run into Monish, a rich industrialist playboy. What begins to happen between the two makes a dangerous story.
It’s a well-worn assertion, even a cliché, that art and spirituality are inextricably linked. A concrete representation of the subject for religious meditation is, we could say, a visible aid to devotion: not so much the object itself, but what it symbolizes, which is important to the viewer (or listener if it’s music).