People enjoy using books to travel to distant places and learn about other cultures, as is evident in the abundance of books about India. February was a rich month for books set in the seemingly exotic country, with four brand-new releases that are sure to satisfy even the most curious reader.
The City of Devi
It’s finally happened: India and Pakistan are at war, and Mumbai is deserted under the threat of a nuclear attack that Pakistan claims is coming. Amid the rubble, a woman named Sarita searches for her husband, Karun, who has disappeared. Sarita and Karun didn’t have a traditional romance, but they’ve found happiness and now, she can’t imagine what might have happened to him. Along the way, Sarita meets a Muslim man named Jaz who has his own reasons for searching for Karun, unbeknownst to Sarita. Part sex comedy (and be warned, there is quite a bit of sex!) and part personal journey, set against a bleak, frightening backdrop, this is a unique novel, to say the least.
Dancing to the Flute
Manisha Jolie Amin
Kalu is a young boy living in an Indian village. Though he was abandoned by his family at a young age, he’s found a new one through the friendships he’s developed. He leads a mundane but happy life until one day, something unforeseen happens. The smallest of actions on Kalu’s part brings a traveling healer to their small town and changes Kalu’s life forever. This promises to be an uplifting story about a young boy who must face growth and change.
The year is 1911, and a French philologist (or linguist) named Alexandre Lautens has arrived in India to study the ancient language of Telugu. But what he doesn’t know is that his presence in India will change the Adivi family forever. Mohini, the younger Adivi daughter, is beautiful and poised, and set to marry soon. Her older sister, the disfigured Anjali, is unwed. Though Anjali is physically disabled by polio, she is intellectually sharp and develops a friendship with Lautens, something that will have repercussions that no one will see coming.
As Sweet as Honey
Meterling might not sound like an Indian name, but she’s the main character of Indira Ganesan’s latest novel, set on a small island in the Indian Ocean. When Meterling finally meets the man of her dreams, everyone is shocked because Meterling is tall and beautiful, and the object of her affection is a short, fat Englishman. Meterling’s cousin Mina narrates this story, and amidst the gossip and identity crises, there are real truths revealed in this wise novel.