On the racks – September 19

Hachette India has come out with a treasure trove of old classics under the category Hachette Essentials, which are collector’s items. Here is a taste of four great and award-winning writers — Thomas Keneally, Margaret Artwood, Alice Walker and Viet Thanh Nguyen, whose immortal works have been freshly published.


The Sympathizer


Author : Viet Thanh Nguyen
Price     : ₹499

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer; Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction; Edgar Award for Best Novel, this is a powerful story of love and friendship, and a skilfully written espionage novel. The narrator, a Vietnamese army captain, is a man of divided loyalties, being a half-French, half-Vietnamese communist sleeper agent in America after the end of the Vietnam War. Hailed as a “remarkable debut novel” and “a new classic of war fiction”, The Sympathizer promises exciting reading.


The Color Purple


Author : Alice Walker
Price     : ₹399

Set in the deep American South between the wars, this book relates the powerful and poignant story of Celie, a young black girl, born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two of her children taken away from her and is trapped into an unhappy marriage. But then she meets a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny and slowly Celie’s transformation begins. A global bestseller, it has inspired generations of readers. This is what the celebrated writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says about The Color Purple: “A lush celebration of all that it means to be female, to be a black female, and like the best of celebrations, it is an honest one.”


Schindler’s Ark


Author : Thomas Keneally
Price     : ₹999

Many of us have been deeply moved by Steven Spielberg’s powerful film Schindler’s List, that walked away with as many as seven Oscars in 1994, including best picture, best director, best actor (Liam Neeson) and best supporting actor (Ralph Fienns). That movie was the adaptation of the brilliant book Schindler’s Ark, written by Thomas Keneally, about Oskar Schindler, a heavy-drinking, womanising member of the Nazi party. But under the dark shadow of the Auschwitz concentration camp he risks everything, including his life, to whisk away to safety the Jews working for him. And this too from right under the nose of the dreaded SS in Adolf Hitler’s Germany.

It was only in 1982 that Keneally’s book brought to international attention the incredible story of this brave businessman, who World War II turned into an angel of mercy. The book went on to win the Booker Prize. In 1993, when Schindler’s List was made, Oskar Schindler and his wife were named Righteous Among the Nations.

The book materialised after Keneally visited in 1980 a luggage store in Beverly Hills, California, looking for a briefcase. The store was run by one of Schindler’s survivors Leopold Pfefferberg. “It was beneath Pfefferberg’s shelf of imported Italian leather goods that I first heard of Oskar Schindler,” writes Keneally. The fascinated man went on to interview 50 of Schindler’s survivors from seven nations, and the result was this gem of a classic.


The Blind Assassin


Author : Margaret Artwood
Price     : ₹499

Canadian writer Margaret Artwood is the talented and versatile writer of some 40 works that include fiction, poetry, critical essays, and her books have been published in over 35 countries. The Blind Assassin won the 2000 Booker Prize. It is a remarkable book where Iris Chase, and her sister Laura, grow up motherless in a small town in Southern Ontario. The aging Iris recalls her life’s events and relationships, including her unhappy marriage to Toronto businessman Richard Griffen. Artwood is a remarkable storyteller and critics have lauded this book for the many layers hidden in its pages, which readers have to peel off one by one.

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