Of all the Indian epics, the Ramayana is the best- known: Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, is banished from his kingdom by a jealous stepmother. His wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana choose to accompany him. During the exile, Sita is abducted by Ravana, the king of Lanka. With the help of Hanuman and a “monkey” army, he defeats Ravana and gets Sita back. It is not a happily-ever-after for Rama though. Questions arise about her chastity given the time she was held in captivity by Ravana. As an ideal king who cares for public opinion, Rama chooses to let her go.

Divided into two parts set in Iran and the US respectively, Dare the Sea is a new collection of stories from Iranian-American writer Ali Hosseini.  The stories, some stories of which had previously appeared in Guernica, Antioch Review and Story Quarterly, explore Iran’s landscape, culture and how cataclysmic, socio-political changes have shaped the identity and sense of belonging amongst Iranians living in Iran and the United States.

Four people at a Hyderabad newspaper publishing company drop dead from heart attacks on the same day. It’s not impossible that people could have heart attacks on the same day, but the timing seems suspicious to the police, namely the lead investigator, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mona Ramteke. This is the lead-in of Aditya Sinha’s mystery, Death in the Deccan, a fun and quirky whodunnit that at times could also be used as a cardiology and toxicology primer. 

The toy walkie-talkie set Amiko receives on her tenth birthday, one that she bounces with excitement to use with her yet-to-be-born brother or sister, is never successfully played with; there always fails to be a coherent response from the other end. Through flashbacks and snappy dialogue, Natsuko Imamura’s novella This is Amiko, Do You Copy? conveys the significance of communication in the building and breaking down of relationships. Adapted into a Japanese film in 2022 and now translated by Hitomi Yoshio, Imamura’s short yet engaging narrative, covering just over 120 pages, follows its protagonist Amiko from age ten through fifteen.

The twenty-three women photographers featured in Anahita Ghabaian Etehadieh’s Breathing Space: Iranian Women Photographers shed light on the state of contemporary photography from Iran. Etehadieh is the founder of Silk Road Gallery, Iran’s first gallery devoted exclusively to photography. Many of the photographers featured in this book have previously exhibited their works at her gallery in Tehran.

Earlier this month, Toho Studios released “Godzilla Minus One”—the 37th film in the now almost seven-decade-old franchise. Godzilla has gone through many phases over the past 70 years: symbol of Japan’s nuclear fears, cuddly defender of humanity, Japanese cultural icon and, now, the centerpiece of another Hollywood cinematic universe.

Pwin-u-Lwin is a town in upper Burma, situated in the hills east of Mandalay, known for its cool climate. Yet for many, Pwin-u-Lwin is better known as Maymyo. Renamed in 1896 after the head of the 5th Bengal infantry, Colonel James May, Maymyo was the most famous hill station in colonial Burma. The British occupied Maymyo in 1895 and a military garrison was erected there in 1897. It soon became a popular holiday destination for those living in Burma. In 1900, following the construction of a train line to Mandalay, it became the summer capital for the British Raj in Burma, allowing colonial officials to leave steamy Rangoon behind until the heat and rains had subsided.