Is any year a good year for books? Despite doomsday predictions, the book is alive and kicking. Heres a list of titles to look out for in 2017, from all Gods publishers, big and small.
The God of Small Things came out in my last year of college in 1997. Two decades later, as I sit perched on the cusp of middle-age, Arundhati Roy returns with her new novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Has she changed; have we changed? We shall find out soon.
Among other novels from Penguin Random House India, theres Nadeem Aslams The Golden Legend, set in contemporary Pakistan; Mohsin Hamids ExitWest,a love story set against the backdrop of the international refugee crisis; and Perumal Murugans Seasons of the Palm, the story of a young untouchable farmhand. In his novel, Friend of My Youth, a meditation on the passage of time, Amit Chaudhuri treads the fine line between fiction and non-fiction and emerges with a sensitive commemoration of Bombay and an unusual friendship.
For Nawazuddin Siddiqui fans, theres Nawaznama, a memoir co-written with Rituparna Chatterjee, as also Karan Johars autobiography, An Unsuitable Boy, co-written with Poonam Saxena. Filmmaker Tanuja Chandra makes her debut with Bijnis Woman: Stories of Uttar Pradesh I Heard From my Parents, Mausis and Buas . But the debut with the biggest buzz has to be Shreevatsa Nevatias How to Travel Light, a wise, eloquent, apologetic, mocking, and frequently hilarious memoir about being bipolar in India.
From Aleph Book Company, comes Irwin Allan Sealys long poem Zelaldinus: A Masque; and Jeet Thayils long-awaited second novel, The Book of Chocolate Saints, about Newton Francis Xavier, blocked poet, serial seducer, reformed alcoholic, all-round wild man and Indias greatest living painter. According to rumours, it might be re-titled 66at the last minute.
Also from Aleph: S. Theodore Bhaskarans The Book of Indian Dogs, a comprehensive account of Indias 25 major dog breeds; Tripti Lahiris Maid in India: Stories of Opportunity and Inequality Inside Our Homes; Amrita Narayanans anthology, The Parrots of Desire: 3000 Years of Indian Erotica; and Sanam Mahers The Short Life and Tragic Death of Qandeel Baloch, the girl Pakistanis loved and loved to hate.
From Picador-Pan Macmillan, a thriller to watch out for: Aditya Sinhas wicked and stylish The CEO Who Lost His Head, set in a Mumbai newspaper office. Picador will also be publishing Naipauls India Essays, collected for the first time, and Himanjali Sankars Mrs C Remembers, a tender novel about a woman with Alzheimers.
From Hachette: Tiger Woods explosive memoir, My Masters: My Game, My Life Since Augusta 1997; and historian Charles Allens Coromondel, about the Buddhist and Jain civilisations that flourished along India's eastern seaboard before Hinduism became the established religion. Theres a gem hidden in their childrens list: Vivek Menons The Secret Lives of Indian Mammals. 2017 will also see a new thriller by John Grisham and David Lagercrantzs 5th book in the Millennium series, the sequel to Girl in the Spiders Web.
Anuja Chauhans Baaz, a romance set against an IAF backdrop during the 1971 war, is Harper Collins big April release. Also from HC: Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored; A History of Indian Sport Through 100 Artefacts by Boria Majumdar; and Girls of the Mahabharata 1: The One Who Swam with the Fishes by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan.
A publishing fairytale from Bloomsbury: Latecomers To A Golden Age, by Kushanava Choudhury, a Princeton and Yale graduate, who moved to Calcutta to the horror of his parents, whod left it to move to the States. Set in contemporary Calcutta, this memoir of reverse migration was unearthed by Bloomsburys Editorial Director, Faiza Sultan Khan, from the bottom of the slush pile. Also: Diksha Basus The Windfall, a comedy of manners about a Delhi family that suddenly comes into money and moves from Mayur Palli to a mansion in Gurgaon, where hilarious upsmanship with the neighbour commences. The novel has been bought by Crown in the USA for an obscene sum of money.
From digital publishing pioneers, Juggernaut, we have Pankaj Mishras Age of Anger: A History of the Present, which goes back to the eighteenth and nineteenth century to explain the roots of the hatred, racism and violence widely seen today; Sagarika Ghoses new biography of Indira Gandhi; and Meena Kandasamis When I Hit You, Portrait of the Young Writer as a Wife, a harrowing novel of an abusive marriage.
From Speaking Tiger, theres Hansda Sowvendra Shekhars A Memorial, which recounts the lives of a Santhal father and son bitterly divided by personal animosity and political differences; and the big one, Lone Fox Dancing, Ruskin Bonds memoir, spanning a literary career of eight decades.
From Yoda comes an incisive little book by psychotherapist and football coach Nupur Dhingra Paiva on children and their inner worlds, Love and Rage: the Inner World of Children.
From Permanent Black, Vasudha Dalmias The Novel and the City in Modern North India, provides a panoramic view of the intellectual and cultural life of North India over a century. Her exploration of emerging Hindu middle classes, changing personal and professional ambitions, and new notions of married life provides a vivid sense of urban modernity.
And finally, my own book: Who Poisoned Jayalalitha? is out tomorrow.
Happy reading in 2017, gentle reader.
The Article First Appeared In DailyO
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