Book worm

The Mirror this week takes a look at some interesting reads

Rupture by Sampurna Chattarji (fiction)

In the course of twenty-four hours, nine characters across five cities are faced with a pressing need to examine their past.

There is Neel, producer of a sensationalist TV series; Tennyson, the water-diviner; Biswajit, a retired Insurance agent; Partho, anglophile Postmaster-General and avid film-buff; Aslam, a gardener-caretaker; Mehjubin, his wife; Nazrul, their teenage son; Jonaki, a copywriter and Surinder, a hired-car driver. As each of them confronts the realities within, their worlds explode in a crescendo of violence that portends what is to come – the unfolding of chaos and a disintegration of civic order that mirrors the breakdown of individual sanities…

Sampurna Chattarji’s first novel (published by HarperCollins, 2009) has been described as one in which ‘every word, every emotion resonates with a heightened sense of intensity’.

First Line: The city has been drowning since dawn.

The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor (fiction)

Nothing is sacred in this deliciously irreverent, witty, and deeply intelligent retelling of modern Indian history and the ancient Indian epic the Mahabharata. Inspired by the question "What would a modern-day epic say about India and the great events of this century?"

Shashi Tharoor has masterfully recast the two-thousand-year-old myth with fictional - but highly recognizable –events and characters from twentieth-century Indian politics.

The Great Indian Novel takes its name from the Mahabharata,which (loosely translated) means "Great India." As in the original, the story is told by the venerable, omniscient Ved Vyas. Restless in his retirement and anything but retiring, this cantankerous old politician dictates his singular memoirs to a loyal scribe, the elephantine Ganapathi.

His novel is a dazzling tapestry of prose and verse that satirically, but also poignantly, chronicles the struggle for Indian freedom and independence.

First Line: They tell me India is an underdeveloped country.

Starbook by Ben Okri

At one level, Starbook tells the delicate story of a prince and a maiden who are both tested by trials in a mythical land where art, initiation and dynamic stillness are supremely important.

At another level, this rich and stimulating novel opens up the nature of reality, where the essence of life is revealed, and the source of enchantment can be ours - where beauty, regeneration and fulfillment are perhaps possible.

A dazzling achievement of the imagination, and a profound work of literature of the kind that won Ben Okri the Booker Prize for "The Famished Road", his new novel is a pleasure to read, with an unforgettable radiance of its own.

First Line: This is a story my mother began to tell me as a child.

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