India and Japan: A Natural Partnership in the Indo-Pacific, Harsh V Pant, Madhuchanda Ghosh (eds) (Orient BlackSwan, May 2024)
India and Japan: A Natural Partnership in the Indo-Pacific,
Harsh V Pant, Madhuchanda Ghosh (eds) (Orient BlackSwan, May 2024)

The Indo-Pacific has emerged as a new theater of strategic and economic competition in the twenty-first century. With the rise of China and the decline of US influence in Asia, India–Japan relations and foreign policies have also been undergoing a significant transformation. This volume critically assesses India–Japan relations with a particular focus on the growing power shift in the Indo-Pacific region. It brings together a diverse group of scholars and analysts from both countries who examine aspects of bilateral relations, partnerships at the regional level, obstacles in the way of fully cementing these ties, and the concrete policies that both countries can undertake for a comprehensive development of India–Japan relations.

Ranjan Adiga’s debut collection Leech and other stories comprises 10 short stories based around the experiences of Nepalis adapting to new worlds, lands and experiences. The majority relate to migration, both internal, with migrants from rural Nepal traveling to try make it in the capital, or abroad, in search of their dream life in America. It is unsurprising that a nation shaped by migration should produce a writer who tackles the subject with such nuance and tenderness. 

Detective fiction in the West is often grouped with crime fiction and thrillers; but in detective fiction, the focus is on a puzzle and the process of solving it. It’s a game with the reader in which a mystery needs to be unraveled before the detective figures it out. In some places, the detective becomes a figure of interest in himself—detective figures have been, traditionally if less so at present, more often than not, men—a complex personality whose story is interesting and deserves an independent treatment of its own. It is a genre that solves problems, finds answers, holds the culprit accountable: all very attractive attributes for those who just like a good story.

In 2015, author Sanya Rushdi was hospitalized after her third psychotic episode and was subsequently diagnosed with schizophrenia. Hospital, first published in 2019 in Bengali and then in an excellent recent English translation by Arunava Sinha, is an attempt to make sense of what had happened to her and the things around her during that period of time. This is not however a straight-up memoir but rather a work of auto-fiction. While most characters might share names and trajectories of their real-life counterparts, it would be wrong to read it as an unvarnished factual account of true events. 

The Solitude of a Shadow is about revenge, and the road to it. Its publication marks Devibharathi’s first novel after decades of novellas, essays, and plays—one of which won last year’s Sahitya Akademi Award. It has now been translated from Tamil by N Kalyan Raman for a wider audience. The story is straightforward: a young boy watched his family suffer at the hands of one man, Karunakaran. As a child, he vowed to make Karunakaran pay, and as an adult, he finds himself in a position to fulfill his promise. But things are never that simple, and the unnamed narrator avoids revenge at all costs. But baser things like plot fall into the background in favor of exploring the transformation of one man, and the result is a puzzle of a novel that the reader must piece together. 

In April 1942, at least half a million people fled the city of Madras, now known as Chennai. The reason? The British, after weeks of growing unease about the possibility of a Japanese invasion, finally recommended that people leave the city. In the tense, uncertain atmosphere of 1942, many people took that advice to heart—and fled.