Books

Books

BOOK REVIEW: FICTION / When death is a performance

Kaveh Akbar’s Martyr! is unruly and endearing. Akbar’s years as a poet has given his debut novel an honesty that shines through the book’s arduous structure. And for all of Martyr!’s exhilarating tone and emotional trek, the difficulties of writing a novel on addiction, martyrdom, death, and meaning is evident when one reads it.

1w ago

BOOK REVIEW: FICTION / When fiction and nonfiction create a literary supernova

When a book mentions one of my favourite authors, W. Somerset Maugham, and the short description suggests betrayal, intrigue, secret affairs, political uprisings, failed marriages, and a whodunnit, there’s little I can do but take it.

1w ago

LITERARY CURTAINS / ‘Begum’s Blunder’ shines in Wilde splendour

Begum’s Blunder is a clever adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. The play transports the Victorian setting to the imaginary Behrampur, the heyday of the Nawabs in India. With Naila Azad Nupur’s direction, and Sadaf Saaz working her behind-the-scenes magic as the producer, the production by Kaleidoscope projects lights on the prism of Wilde’s 1892 play to find their contemporary refractions and reflections in colonial India.

3w ago

INTERVIEW / Outliers take centre-stage in Shah Tazrian Ashrafi’s debut collection

It’s hard not to recall our many conversations about literature as I try to summarise Shah Tazrian Ashrafi’s debut collection of short stories. They were always short discussions, opening and closing off in spurts, as happens over text. Exclamations over a new essay collection by Zadie Smith, or a new novel by Isabel Allende.

3w ago

INTERVIEW / A look at AAPI representation in tech with Kyla Zhao of ‘Valley Verified’

This week, Kyla Zhao, the author of Valley Verified (Penguin Random House, 2024), graced us with an exclusive interview to give us insights into the changing trends in Asian American literature.

1m ago

REFLECTIONS / Literature or sadism: The bleak picture of trauma in ‘A Little Life’

There are few novelists as cruel as Hanya Yanagihara—and in A Little Life (Doubleday, 2015), her pen draws blood. Nine years on, the controversy of the 800-page character study of an irreparably broken protagonist is still ablaze with accusations that it sadistically exploits trauma for profit.

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INTERVIEW / Of language and free will

'We are truly prisoners of the mind', says Sanya Rushdi, the author-narrator of Hospital (Giramondo Publishing, 2023)

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ESSAY / It has to be print

There is something in the tactility of books that even non-readers find themselves admiring, and readers more so.

1m ago

On making zines with Aqui Thami

A big believer in social exchanges and developing safe spaces to position art as a medium of healing in community, Thami works on ceremonial interventions, performances, drawings, zine-making, fly posting, and public intervention, brought together by participant involvement

1m ago

100 feminist zines to shake, inspire, and soothe you

This year, to celebrate Sister Library Dhaka turning four, we acquired a collection of 100 zines curated by the library’s founder, Aqui Thami. The collection will be available for reading at the Goethe-Institut library from June onwards. With the acquisition of this collection, we are finally connected to the mothership Sister Library in Bombay.

1m ago

5 atmospheric books to read during a kalboishakhi jhor

As long-awaited summer showers arrive to offer respite from the sweltering heat we have been experiencing, here are a few books to accompany you as you cosy up in bed and watch the rain beat down on your windows.

2m ago

Why Dune stands the test of time

I recently had the sublime experience of watching the recent adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune (Chilton Books, 1965), a 2021 and 2023 two-part movie series directed by the passionate Denis Villeneuve. It is, in my mind, a cinematic triumph, and I am thrilled to witness the surge interest these movies have driven for Herbert’s science fiction book series of the same name.

2m ago

Beyond science and scope: ‘The Three-Body Problem’

The Three-Body Problem is the first book in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past (2006) trilogy by Cixin Liu, a renowned Chinese author.

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The saga of a mother’s sacrifice and resilience

Anisul Hoque’s Kokhono Amar Maa-ke is the story of appalling sacrifices made by a mother and her unwavering determination to secure a bright future for her children.

2m ago

Poetry for our times and a poet’s new frontier

Inevitably, Kaiser Haq’s The New Frontier and Other Odds and Ends in Verse and Prose is about the poet, his poetic predilections, and situatedness at this time of human existence. In many ways it is typical of the verse we have come to expect from our leading poet in English for a long time now, but in other ways it articulates his present-day concerns in new and striking poetic measures. 

2m ago

Alice Munro, Canadian Nobel Prize-winning author, dies at 92

Nobel Prize-winning Canadian writer Alice Munro, whose exquisitely crafted tales of the loves, ambitions and travails of small-town women in her native land made her a globally acclaimed master of the short story, has died at the age of 92, her publisher said on Tuesday

2m ago

Should this lost novel have been found?

Articles on Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s last novel to be published by his sons against the author’s wishes built up my anticipation and I couldn’t wait for April to arrive. Thanks to Bookworm, I got my copy the moment they had it in store and I read it twice. It didn’t impress me the first time as it was just a string of chapters describing how a promiscuous woman drove herself into the arms of different men on her annual August 16 visits to a Caribbean island.

2m ago

A perfect cup of literary ‘saa’

Priyanka Taslim greets me with a gentle smile as we meet over Zoom. She is eloquent and our conversation flows organically, akin to an adda over a cup of saa (cha).

2m ago
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