Eight new books to read this April
BY Neville Bhandara | April 9th, 2019
.A new month calls for a new reading list and, luckily, there’s lots to pick from this April. From Samantha Shannon’s new feminist fantasy fiction to Pico Iyer’s poignant travelogue and Arundhati Roy’s political firecracker, here’s what to read this month:
As a symbol of both identity and oppression, a hijab can be as liberating as it can be constricting. This is the premise of this book of short stories, which follows a kleptomaniac who uses her abaya to steal lipstick and flash men, a young bride in the West who refuses to part with her veil, and other accounts from both sides of the aisle.
Grace returns to Puducherry to cremate her mother, only to learn that she has a sister she never knew of, who suffers from Down Syndrome and has spent her life in a facility. Together, they move into the home Grace has inherited—a 10- acre beachfront sprawl—and try to make a life together. But, is anything ever so easy?
As India heads to the polls this month, the author-activist delves into the impact that Mahatma Gandhi and BR Ambedkar continue to have on our politics, even today. This work of non-fiction (that will no doubt create some friction) is important reading for every young, woke Indian.
A woman has just been shot during a prejudiced police raid on her home. Born to Bengali parents, the second-generation American lies bleeding on her driveway as a slow, seething rage takes hold of her. She tries to make sense of her past, and the one question that never seems to go away: “Where are you really from?” A harrowing, important read on racism, told from the perspective of a south Asian POC in the US.
One of the world’s foremost travel writers is back with his latest offering. For years, Iyer and his wife Hiroko have split their time between their homes in Nara and California, but the sudden death of her father prompts their early return to Japan. This part memoir, part musing on the fleeting nature of life and our tendency to take things for granted is a lesson cloaked in Iyer’s trademark observances and humour.
The highly anticipated new title from the Man Booker winner is the first instalment of his Dark Star trilogy, and draws from African folklore and myth. The protagonist, Tracker, is an adept hunter and prefers to work alone. But when he’s enlisted to find a missing boy, he breaks with protocol and joins a ragtag group of shape-shifters, witches and mercenaries and sets out across the continent’s teeming jungles to find the child.
Abdullah, a jaded bachelor and the scion of a fading family, wakes on his 70th birthday and has a sudden urge to fling himself over his balcony, as a final ode to his gloriously unaccomplished life. But fate has other plans in store for him: an old friend introduces Abdullah to his grandson (who soon becomes the old man’s protégé) and the septuagenarian soon catches the fancy of a mysterious woman with connections to the mob.
Queen Sabran needs a daughter to safeguard her legacy and lineage. But after 1,000 years, whispers surface surrounding the return of the Nameless One, a fire-breathing dragon intent on destroying humanity, who has all sorts of monsters at his command. Could Sabran’s daughter be the key to saving the kingdom? Or is there something the queen doesn’t know about the prophecy?
“For me, reading is like dreaming with my eyes open. And what makes it wonderful is that it is someone else’s dream—you are privy to the notions of a stranger. And then what happens is, your dreams and thoughts become entangled with this other person’s, and you lose yourself in the book.” — Roshan Ali, Author, Ib’s Endless Search For Satisfaction, Penguin House. On Stands Now.
2 Books From Roshan Ali’s Shelf