Sub title: A Reporter's Journey in the Congo
Stringer is an account of a year and a half that Sundaram spent in the country working for the Associated Press. It was an intense period that would take him deep into the shadowy city of Kinshasa, to the dense rainforests that still evoke Conrad’s vision, and to the heart of Africa’s great war, culminating in the historic and violent multiparty elections of 2006. Along the way he would go on a joyride with Kinshasa’s feral children, fend off its women desperate for an escape route, and travel with an Indian businessman hunting for his fortune.
Written with startling beauty and acuity, Stringer is a superb piece of reportage. It marks the debut of a breathtaking new talent.
Gideon Haigh on Shane Warne is an irresistible pairing: 'the finest cricket writer alive' (The Australian) on the greatest cricketer of our times. Gideon Haigh on Shane Warne is an irresistible pairing: 'the finest cricket writer alive' (The Australian) on the greatest cricketer of our times. The resulting masterpiece is as much about our fascination with Warnie as it is about the player himself. Who doesn't know the name Shane Warne?Now that the Australian cricketer who dominated airwaves and headlines for twenty years has turned full‐time celebrity and media event, his sporting conquests and controversies are receding steadily into the past.
But what was it like to watch Warne at his long peak, the man of a thousand international wickets, the incarnation of Australian audacity and cheek? Our leading cricket writer, Gideon Haigh, lived and loved the Warne era, when the impossible was everyday, and the sensational every other day. In On Warne, he relives the era's highs, its lows, its fun and its follies. Drawing on interviews conducted with Warne over the course of a decade, and two decades of watching him play, Haigh assesses this greatest of sportsmen as cricketer, character, comrade, newsmaker and national figure ‐ a natural in an increasingly regimented time, a simplifier in a growingly complicated world. The result is one of the finest cricket books ever written, a whole new way of looking at its subject, at sport, and at Australia. One day, you might be asked what cricket in the time of Warne was like. On Warne is the definitive account.
A masterpiece, one of the great books written about an unforgettable metropolis!
In 1999, Amit Chaudhuri returned with his family to Calcutta. He did so tentatively. Calcutta was where his parents had moved after retirement; it was the city he had loved in his youth and in whose lanes he had spent tranquil childhood holidays; one he had made his name writing about. But that Calcutta had receded and another had taken its place.
Calcutta is Chaudhuri’s account of two years (2009–11) in the great metropolis. Using the idea of return and the historical elections of 2011 as his fulcrum, he travels between the nineteenth century, when the city burst with a new vitality, to the twenty-first century, when, utterly changed, it seems to be on the verge of another turn.
Along the way Chaudhuri evokes all that is most particular and extraordinary about the city—from its houses with their slatted windows to its effervescent cultural life, its change of season, and its Christmas and pujas. He paints, too, an acute, often ironic, and occasionally terribly funny picture of life in the city today—of its malls and restaurants, its fitful attempts to embrace globalisation, its middle class who leave and then return reluctantly, its bygone aristocracy, and its homeless and poor itinerants.
This is the story of a city. The north-west corner of a city. Here you'll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all. And many people in between. Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds. And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, causing a disruption in the whole system. Like the April afternoon a woman came to Leah Hanwell's door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, forcing Leah out of her isolation . . . Zadie Smith's brilliant tragi-comic new novel follows four Londoners - Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan - as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their London is a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end. Depicting the modern urban zone - familiar to town-dwellers everywhere - Zadie Smith's NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.
The Magic of Saida
Descendent of an African slave and a Gujarati trader, Kamal Punja grew up in the ancient town of Kilwa, on the coast of East Africa. Kamal, who never knew his father, is given away by his mother to better his prospects. Years later, after a flourishing career as a doctor in Canada, he returns, in search of Saida, his childhood sweetheart. But where is Saida, and why are his efforts to find her being thwarted? Feverish, delirious, and perhaps delusional, Kamal is haunted by the past as he struggles to trace the woman he thinks he betrayed. Along the way, he must face the truth of his mixed lineage and be accountable for a chain of events he had unwittingly set off. Set in the vivid world where Africa, Arabia and India meet, where history, poetry, and magic combine, The Magic of Saida is a haunting story of enduring love and lost childhood.
Each summer three siblings come reluctantly to visit their bitter old grandmother, in her dreary seaside home. Faruk, the eldest is alcoholic, recently divorced and adrift. Metin, the youngest is full of hunger, dreaming of escaping his family and studying in America. And in between them is their sister, Nilgün, a fiery youngs revolutionary, hurtling towards womanhood. Over the week, the family face first love, old ghosts and childhood memories. Watching them is the dwarf Recep, the housekeeper, who has stories of his own. Haunting, tender and acutely observed, Silent House is was published to great acclaim in Turkey in 1983 and remains one of Pamuk’s most popular works in the country. It was the author’s second novel and available in English for the first time.
Religion for Atheists
What if religions are neither all true or all nonsense? The boring debate between fundamentalist believers and non-believers is finally moved on by Alain's inspiring new book, which boldly argues that the supernatural claims of religion are of course entirely false – and yet that religions still have some very important things to teach the secular world.
Religion for Atheists suggests that rather than mocking religions, agnostics and atheists should instead steal from them – because they're packed with good ideas on how we might live and arrange our societies. Blending deep respect with total impiety, Alain (a non-believer himself) proposes that we should look to religions for insights into, among other concerns, how to:
- build a sense of community
- Make our relationships last
- overcome feelings of envy and inadequacy
- escape the twenty-four hour media
- go travelling
- get more out of art, architecture and music
- and create new businesses designed to address our emotional needs.
For too long non-believers have faced a stark choice between either swallowing lots of peculiar doctrines or doing away with a range of consoling and beautiful rituals and ideas. At last, in Religion for Atheists, Alain has fashioned a far more interesting and truly helpful alternative.
The Man Within My Head
Ever since he first read Graham Greene, Pico Iyer has been obsessed by the figure of the writer and by one of the great themes of Greene's work: what it means to be an outsider. Wherever he has travelled—usually as an outsider himself--Iyer has found reminders of Greene's life, observed scenes that might have been written by Greene, written stories that recall Greene. Yet as Iyer recounts the history of his obsession, another phantom image begins to assert itself, one that Iyer had long banished from his inner life--that of his father. Insightful, tender, superbly written, The Man Within my Head is another masterpiece from one of our great travel writers.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Sub title: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
"Annawadi is a slum in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as the Indian economy booms, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective teenager, sees ‘a fortune beyond counting’ in the recyclable garbage that the city’s richer people throw away. He is so fast, sorting waste, that he’s close to lifting his whole family out of the slum. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, is eyeing an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck and the right connections, her sensitive, beautiful teenaged daughter might soon become the first female college graduate in the slum. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a homeless 15-year-old scrap-metal thief, feel themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call ‘the full enjoy.’
But then Abdul the teenaged garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; a terrorist attack and a global recession rock Mumbai; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest human hopes intersect with the harshest realities of life in an Indian megacity, the true contours of a desperately competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the resilience and ingenuity of the people of Annawadi.
In Katherine Boo’s fast-paced and riveting book—beautifully written, rigorously researched and intimately reported—the impact of poverty, inequality, corruption and global change is made human through breathtaking, sometimes heartbreaking, stories that will stay with you forever. "
Sub title: Three Essays
Mr Chidambaram's War 'The low, flat-topped hills of south Orissa have been home to the Dongria Kondh long before there was a country called India or a state called Orissa...' Walking with the Comrades 'The terse, typewritten note slipped under my door in a sealed envelope confirmed my appointment with â€œIndia's single biggest internal security challengeâ€. I'd been waiting for months to hear from them...' Trickledown Revolution 'In the early morning hours of 2 July 2010, in the remote forests of Adilabad, the Andhra Pradesh State Police fired a bullet into the chest of a man called Cherukuri Rajkumar, known to his comrades as Azad...' War has spread from the borders of India to the forests in the very heart of the country. Combining brilliant analysis and reportage by one of India's iconic writers, Broken Republic examines the nature of progress and development in the emerging global superpower, and asks fundamental questions about modern civilization itself.