Perumal Murugan’s Kazhimugham is an ugly novel. Ugly, that is, as Umberto Eco would have it: its subject is ugliness and it is a work that the author claims breaks the conventional rules of beauty.
Arrivals & Departures is Reena Kapoor’s debut poetry collection. This anthology takes readers on a journey through a multitude of places, time periods, and emotions, including the nostalgia of one’s homeland, the suffering and resilience of women who experienced India and Pakistan’s 1947 Partition, parenthood, and life’s other simple pleasure. Kapoor draws readers into new worlds with her words and allows them to find themselves within.
A House is a Body is the first book-length outing for two-time O Henry Award-winner Shruti Swamy. Most of the stories have been published separately before in such journals as The Paris Review, but they take on a particular strength when arranged together in a collection. Some take place in India, others in the West, but the power of the book rests in those stories that subtly show how women have traditionally not been recognized for the nurturing roles they take up.
Swati is the last person Rachel Meyer expects to find at her front door in Mumbai. Swati is also the last person Rachel’s husband, Dhruv, expects to find at home after work one day. Swati, a native of Kolkata, is Dhruv’s mother and Rachel’s mother-in-law, and she’s moving in. So starts Leah Franqui’s novel, Mother Land, a story of trying to find oneself in another country and placing the success of that on another person.
Indian history has two “great” emperors: Ashoka of the ancient Mauryan dynasty and Akbar, one of the Mughals. Ira Mukhoty’s biography of the latter, Akbar: The Great Mughal, is a comprehensive yet simple account of the emperor’s life, one that will be of great help to readers wanting to understand more about the king while also familiarizing themselves with the how he has been represented in books, biographies, and popular culture since his time.
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.