The Indian literary scene is thriving with more readers from the younger generation actually looking forward to forthcoming books by Indian authors, so much so, that each author has his or her own dedicated fan club.
The year 2016 is expected to be exciting with several fiction, non-fiction, autobiographies and biographies coming up for launch. Here are some of the most anticipated books due for launch this year.
All quiet in Vikaspuri – Sarnath Banerjee
This Berlin-based graphic novelist has built his own niche delving into a fictitious world of characters that swing between the real and the imaginary. We are familiar with his world of eclectic women that border on the eccentric – Women I Know series; 5-Minuten Frau, but with his latest book – All quiet in Vikaspuri, Sarnath deftly takes us into the streets of Delhi where water wars are fought for survival and ego. His central character traverses the land in search of the mythical river – Saraswati, and Sarnath takes us along that search as he peels off layers on each character.
Selection Day – Aravind Adiga
With The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga scored the Man Booker Prize in 2008. And now, with his third novel Selection Day – Aravind takes us into the world of Manjunath, a young fourteen-year-old reluctant cricketer who is still in the process of discovering himself in an evolving world and trying to understand his space between a cricket loving and sometimes domineering father, and his extremely talented older brother, Radha. More interested in science of things, Manju’s sensitive portrayal as a budding teenager trying to cope with emerging situations makes Selection Day a book much looked forward to in 2016.
Described by A.N. Wilson, as the ‘most exciting novelist in English today’, Aravind has been spending a lot of time catching up on Kannada literature and delving into the world of Udipi, on the west coast, and this reflects in Selection Day.
In other words – Jhumpa Lahiri
This one is interesting. For a Pulitzer Prize winner who wrote Interpreter of Maladies, a fictional account, to take on an autobiographical linguistic journey of exploring herself in a medium that is not her natural one, is a challenge not many writers would dare to undertake. But that’s Jhumpa.
In other words, Jhumpa Lahiri describes her love, bordering on obsession, for Italian – the language, and everything else Italian. She describes what drove her to relocate from the US to Italy, in pursuit of a language that she so passionately loves, and to explore her own capabilities to express in a language not her own. While a non-fiction account, Jhumpa doesn’t let her fans down, who will love her immaculate style of carrying one along on her experience and discovery of everything Italian.
Swimmer Among the Stars: Stories – Kanishk Tharoor
The world of Indian literary fiction has a new voice in 31-year-old Kanishk Tharoor, a young New York based writer, and yes, progeny of our very own Shashi Tharoor. But there ends the familiarity, as Kanishk has already carved out a niche and identity for himself, in a world of words that brought him a nomination for the National Magazine Award.
Swimmer Among the Stars – is a collection of short stories that include Elephant at Sea, the title story – Swimmer Among the Stars, A United Nations in Space, The Fall of an Eyelash, Tale of the Teahouse, The Loss of Muzaffar, The Mirrors of Iskandar.
This collection of short stories marks the coming of age of a distinct storyteller whose surreal characters deftly play out their contextual but very relatable expressions.
Incarnations: India in 50 lives – Sunil Khilnani
Prof Khilnani, Director of India Institute at Kings College London, has taken upon himself the challenging task of trying to bring out 50 lives in the evolution of Indian history over 2,500 years, whose work have influenced India in a way that finds relevance in contemporary India.
Historians in India have traditionally been mired in their inability to sift through critical moments of history and separate fact from fiction, often built around mythological achievements. Sunil Khilnani, through his work Incarnations; India in 50 lives, brings perspective to protagonists of Indian history, as he begins his journey from the time of The Buddha and then carries you through time into contemporary India and a world of Dhirubhai Ambani, who brought the ordinary investor into the realm of the equity world.
Mother, Where’s My Country – Anubha Bhonsle
War, conflict and strife, all take its toll on those directly involved and those who live on the sidelines but remain equally affected. The pain, suffering, stress and trauma borne by civilians, militant’s families and the soldiers operating in conflict areas, have long remained outside the insulated mainstream society, living in safer zones in other parts of India. This account is as true of the North-East, as it is of conflict ridden zones of Kashmir Valley.
Anubha Bhonsle, an established journalist based out of the capital, has come out with a compelling firsthand account of the ongoing strife and the toll it has taken in the North East, and Manipur in particular. Her work is based on extensive interviews of all stakeholders, particularly Irom Sharmila, the legendary Manipuri activist, who stood up to the military establishment to demand withdrawal of draconian laws in her state. Anubha’s extensive work offers a true account of pain and despair that civilians feel, caught in between the on-going insurgency by militants and the corresponding counter-offensive by the state. A must read account that serves both as a narrative and a mirror.
The Gujarat Files – Rana Ayyub
Journalist Rana Ayyub won acclaim for her investigation and reportage of the controversial encounter and extrajudicial killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh by the Gujarat Police. Carrying her work further, The Gujarat Files promises to expose the possible role and influence of Amit Shah in the case. Given the high profile and possibility of political pressure, she was advised to self-publish the book. Expected to be released in March, expect Rana Ayyub to be in the centre of a lot of attention, this spring.