Really Random Tuesdays!
Hello Everyone… It is raining cats and dogs here. While I do love the rains, it is the infections and troubles it brings with it, that I hate. Aarya suffered from viral fever this past week and now that he is alright, the virus has given him some nasty rashes. The fever was very hard on him, I think this has to be the longest fever he has had till date.
I told you about the books I am reading in my Monday post but I did not tell you about the 2 books I finished. They are the Mahasweta by Sudha Murthy and I am Papa by Pranav Bhattacharya. I loved the first book and I liked the second one as well but there were some things I did not like as well. I am going to review both this week.
As I have started going to the library frequently, I have started to read more Indian authors. I am really ashamed to admit that I would not have bought these books myself, because I won’t be really sure about them. And I do not believe in the reviews posted in the newspapers.
But this week there was a very nice article named “Oh, for a good book on a rainy day” in the supplement of The Times of India (our daily), and I have added some books from there to my wishlist. These really sounded good to me…
Desirable Daughters and The Tree Bride by Bharati Mukherjee ( It is a series)
Desirable Daughters, by the prolific writer Bharati Mukherjee, whose short story collection The Middleman won the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award, is a masterful meditation on marriage and family ties. It begins on a fantastic note: on a winter night in an east Bengali village in 1879, the narrator’s ancestor, 5-year-old Tara Lata, is married to a tree after her 13-year-old husband-to-be dies of a snakebite on their wedding day. The novel ends some 120 years later, when Tara, the 36-year-old narrator, returns to this same village in winter with her teenaged son. Like her ancestor, Tara Bhattacharjee is the youngest of three sisters of a Brahmin family. Although they grew up in Calcutta, Tara and the oldest sister now live in America while the middle sister lives in Bombay. Tara was married (in an arranged marriage) at age 19 to Bish Chatterjee, a genius who makes a fortune from a cutting-edge computer process. He and Tara are estranged when the novel opens, but when a stranger claiming kinship shows up at the house that Tara shares in San Francisco with her son and her boyfriend, she reconsiders her assumptions about her entire family. In the course of the novel, a sister’s secret and a murder are uncovered, and a near-fatal bombing occurs. Mukherjee’s Desirable Daughters is yet another of her magically written, compelling novels. –Susan Biskeborn
In The Tree Bride, the narrator, Tara Chatterjee (whom readers will remember from Desirable Daughters), picks up the story of an East Bengali ancestor. According to legend, at the age of five Tara Lata married a tree and eventually emerged as a nationalist freedom fighter. In piecing together her ancestor’s transformation from a docile Bengali Brahmin girl-child into an impassioned organizer of resistance against the British Raj, the contemporary narrator discovers and lays claim to unacknowledged elements in her “American” identity. Although the story of the Tree Bride is central, the drama surrounding the narrator, a divorced woman trying to get back with her husband, moves the novel back and forth through time and across continents.
Love Across the Salt Dessert: Selected Short Stories by Keki Daruwala
About the Book
The iconic title story of this collection narrates how Najab defies his father, the international border between India and Pakistan and the hostile salt desert of the Rann of Kutch for Fatimah. In ‘When Gandhi Came to Gorakhpur’ Shadilal, a small-time lawyer, dithers over giving up his profession and joining the freedom struggle until his mind is made up for him. And when Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni stints on a few silver coins for the poet Abul Qasim, he is visited by terrible nightmares in ‘Of Abul Qasim’.
Love across the Salt Desert, which brings together a selection of Keki Daruwalla’s best-received short fiction, presents thematic variety and stunning breadth of vision. His prose is witty, precise and shot through with a unique poetic sensibility. These stories establish Daruwalla, one of India’s best-known poets, as a daring and gifted practitioner of short Fiction.
In September 1838 a storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and the Ibis, a ship carrying a consignment of convicts and indentured laborers from Calcutta to Mauritius, is caught up in the whirlwind. When the seas settle, five men have disappeared – two lascars, two convicts and one of the passengers. Did the same storm upend the fortunes of those aboard the Anahita, an opium carrier heading towards Canton? And what fate befell those aboard the Redruth, a sturdy two-masted brig heading East out of Cornwall? Was it the storm that altered their course or were the destinies of these passengers at the mercy of even more powerful forces?
On the grand scale of an historical epic, River of Smoke follows its storm-tossed characters to the crowded harbors of China. There, despite efforts of the emperor to stop them, ships from Europe and India exchange their cargoes of opium for boxes tea, silk, porcelain and silver. Among them are Bahram Modi, a wealthy Parsi opium merchant out of Bombay, his estranged half-Chinese son Ah Fatt, the orphaned Paulette and a motley collection of others whose pursuit of romance, riches and a legendary rare flower have thrown together. All struggle to cope with their losses – and for some, unimaginable freedoms – in the alleys and crowded waterways of 19th century Canton. As transporting and mesmerizing as an opiate induced dream, River of Smoke will soon be heralded as a masterpiece of twenty-first century literature.
Have you guys read any of these books? What did you think?
This is yet another installment of Really Random Tuesdays hosted by a very beautiful blogger, Suko. Really Random Tuesday is a way to post odds and ends–announcements, musings, quotes, photos–any blogging and book-related things you can think of.