On the racks – April 2020

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Girl, Woman, Other

Author                  : Bernardine Evaristo
Publisher             : Penguin
Pages                    : 457; 550

This winner of the Man Booker Prize 2019, follows the lives and struggles of 12 characters mostly women, who are black and British. They share their personal journeys through the last hundred years of the country. They’re each looking for something — a shared past, an unexpected future, a place to call home, somewhere to fit in, a lover, a missed mother, a lost father, even just a touch of hope — so that they can tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. Bernardine Evaristo brings to life generations of women and the people they have loved and unloved — the complexities of race, sex, gender, politics, friendship, love, fear and regret.

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Bahawalpur The Kingdom that Vanished

Author                  : Anabel Loyd
Publisher             : Penguin
Pages                    : 280; 401

In the seventy or so years since Independence, not much is written about the princely states which acceded to Pakistan. The name of the once great State of Bahawalpur is not well-remembered, unlike its peers over the border in Rajasthan.

This book is based on conversations with Salahuddin Abbasi, grandson of the last ruler of Bahawalpur who was born a year before Partition. Starting with the history of his state and his family, his memories throw light on the Bahawalpur princes from old records, letters, and the accounts of British travellers and civil servants. They also encompass a first-hand experience of the political life of Pakistan and Abbasi’s relationships with its leaders.

The nation has had a troubled history and from the microcosm of Bahawalpur, this account helps to join the dots of a more coherent view of Pakistan and its future.

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Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

Author                  : Deepa Anappara
Publisher             : Penguin
Pages                    : 368; 384

Nine-year-old Jai lives in a slum on the outskirts of an unnamed Indian city with his parents and older sister. In many ways he is an unremarkable boy: he watches reality cop shows on TV, attends the overcrowded government school, and tries to stay out of trouble. But when one of his classmates goes missing, Jai — taking inspiration from the TV programmes — turns amateur detective and vows to uncover the mystery of the disappearance. With the help of his two best friends — sensible Pari and diligent Faiz — they form a comical trio and set off on the city metro’s purple line to investigate.

Journalist and author Deepa Anappara draws our attention to the horrors and tragedy of the terrifyingly enormous numbers of children who go missing in India. Through Jai’s voice, she creates an endearing narrative that takes us through the dark underbelly of modern India.

 

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