Life Over Two Beers And Other Stories by Sanjeev Sanyal

Life Over Two Beers And Other Stories is Sanyal’s first published work of fiction. In his own words “—it sent me on a happy journey and I will probably remain primarily a non-fiction writer.” This collection of mostly satirical short stories is very approachable. A quick read, it elicits a smile or an acknowledgement every […]

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Stieg Larsson became a sensation with the publication of his Millennium trilogy. Sadly, only after his untimely death. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first of the trilogy, is a page turner and keeps one glued till the end. I had already seen the movie. I wish I hadn’t. While you can make an […]

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King’s Ransom by Ed McBain (or, High and Low by Akira Kurosawa)

In the fifties, Ed McBain wrote a rather nondescript book, a crime thriller which had all the cliches and ingredients of a potboiler – wooden, flat characters mouthing banalities, the stereotype business tycoon, the tough cop etc. etc. There was, however, a distinct complexity to the plot, which though the author could barely leverage, but […]

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The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama

I read Vikram Seth’s Suitable Boy over two years ago. Yet many of the characters, even lesser ones – like Mahesh Kapoor, remain vivid in my memory. I can almost see the man when I close my eyes and try to imagine a scene from the story. One could argue that it’s unfair to compare […]

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Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

An alternative title to Unaccustomed Earth could very well be-“The distraught lives of Bengali Americans”. It is no secret that Lahiri writes about Bengali Americans, their travails and search for identity. It was the prevalent theme in the much vaunted “Interpreter of Maladies.” It was the same theme expanded into a novel in “The Namesake.” […]

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Behind the words

I have just begun reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Unaccustomed Earth”. The back cover caught my eye. It is not that I haven’t seen her picture before, and was caught unaware by the fact that she is good looking (quite photogenic too). But the way photograph has been rendered, she could pass for a model, or a […]

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Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

To read an Amitav Ghosh novel is not merely to get a glimpse of the best of contemporary Indian writing, but also a snapshot of an oft-ignored episode of history. The “Sea of Poppies” is no exception. After a somewhat lukewarm tryst with Sunderbans and the Gangetic Dolphin (Hungry Tide), the first novel of the […]

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Literary potshots

In Fury, a Salman Rushdie character (Prof. Solanka) flays Hemingway, calling him the “most effeminate” of novelists, or something to that effect. It suits Rushdie, his writing leaning towards the opposite spectrum of literary style. A few years down the line, Rohinton Mistry writes in Family Matters – “…Yezad felt that Punjabi migrants of a […]

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From Heaven Lake by Vikram Seth

When Vikram Seth traveled through China almost twenty five years ago, the country was much less fashionable in popular parlance than it is today. Sinkiang and Tibet are likely to be far more accessible to the tourist today, possibly even to the hitch hiker, which is what was Seth’s choice incarnate – an interesting albeit […]

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