On the racks – May 2020
There’s gunpowder in the air
Author: Manoranjan Byapari (Translated from Bengali to English by Arunava Sinha)
Publisher : Eka
Pages : 178; ₹360
It’s the early seventies. The Naxalbari Movement is gathering strength in Bengal. Young men and women have left their homes, picked up arms to free land from the clutches of feudal landlords and the state, and return them to oppressed landless farmers. They are being arrested en masse and thrown into high-security jails. In one such jail, five Naxals are meticulously planning a jailbreak. They must free themselves if the revolution is to continue. But petty thief Bhagoban, much too happy to serve frequent terms for free food and shelter, has been planted by Jailor Bireshwar Mukherjee among them as a mole. Only, Bhagoban seems to be warming up to them. There’s gunpowder in the air is a searing investigation into what deprivation and isolation can do to human idealism. And Manoranjan Byapari is one of the most refreshing voices to emerge from Bengal in recent times.
The adivasi will not dance
Author : Hansda Sowendra Shekhar
Publisher : Speaking Tiger Books
Pages : 140; ₹237
In this collection of stories, set in the fecund, mineral-rich hinterland and the ever-expanding, squalid towns of Jharkhand, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar breathes life into a set of characters as robustly flesh and blood as the soil from which they spring, where they live, and into which they must sometimes bleed.
Troupe-master Mangal Murmu refuses to perform for the President of India and is beaten down; Suren and Gita, a love-blind couple, wait with quiet desperation outside a neonatal ward, hoping — for different reasons — that their blue baby will turn pink; Panmuni and Biram Soren move to Vadodara in the autumn of their lives, only to find that they must stop eating meat to be accepted as citizens; Baso-jhi is the life of the village of Sarjomdih but, when people begin to die for no apparent reason, a ghastly accusation from her past comes back to haunt her; and Talamai Kisku of the Santhal Parganas, migrating to West Bengal in search of work, must sleep with a policeman for ₹50 and two cold bread pakoras.
It is a mature, passionate, intensely political book of stories, made up of the very stuff of life. It establishes the author as one of our most important contemporary writers.
The life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing
Author : Marie Kondoō
Publisher : Ten Speed Books
Pages : 258; ₹1,141
Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?
Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you simplify and organise your home properly once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which helps you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. None of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).
With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international best seller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home — and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.
Compiled by Kiran Zehra