On the racks – March 2021


The Gilded Ones

Author                  : Namina Forna
Publisher             : Delacorte
Pages                    : 432; 1,545

A unique and female-centred fantasy, this is the story of Deka who has spent the first sixteen years of her life attempting to master the docility and obedience expected from a ‘pure girl’ whose blood must run red instead of the cursed gold in order to stay in her village and be included in her community. If otherwise, this could lead to the death of her father and herself at the hands of their kin. When she finds out, and so does the village, that her blood is gold, she is guided by an unknown woman to a land where she meets girls as special as herself and prepares for a battle to end the patriarchy and ring in the good times for the gold-blooded line.



Dispatches from Sowparnika

Author                  : Usha Kumar
Publisher             : Notion Press
Pages                    : 242; 298

This book is a microcosm of the passage of human life. With stories of people and places, it’s a compilation of everyday experiences as perceived by the author. It takes the readers on a fascinating journey through thumbnail sketches and vignettes. The versatility of the book lies in every narrative being first-hand and lovingly dealt with, be it about family, cities or just musings. The chapter An Ode to My Mother is beautifully and lovingly penned; The Only Kilo is about the few things she’d take if caught in something like the great Chennai floods; A Sliver of History gives you an insight into indentured labour; Adieu on a lighter note is about the dear old Ambassador car; and the pachyderm Guruvayur Kesavan is the focus in Blessed. The book is a compelling, heartening and ebullient read and will surely leave readers reflecting on the many forgotten times, places and people in their lives.



The Four Winds

Author                  : Kristin Hannah
Publisher             : St Martin’s Press
Pages                    : 464; 1,780

The book is set in Texas in the year 1921 when the dust storms damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American prairies. The stock market crash at the same time led to the Great Depression. In the middle of it all, Elsa and her family have to make a choice to either remain in their farm and fight for their land or head west to California for a better life. Elsa is a true fighter, she gives up the comfort of her maternal home when she becomes pregnant with the child of a man who does not care for her and is forced to marry him. With the support of her parents-in-law Rose and Tony, the protagonist comes to realise how tough, brave, and kind-hearted she is. She then guides her family through the toughest decision they have to make. Incidentally, farmers from the drought-stricken Dust Bowl and workers from the cities all converge in California looking for jobs. Could this be a new beginning for Elsa and her children or could it be worse?


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