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Of strangers, mischief and the Bengal famine (IANS Books)
Flick through a debut novel that weaves a narrative
around the changes in one's life with the arrival of a stranger; read the tale
of a curious but mischievous child and his tryst with a teacher who is hell bent
on setting him right; and finally relive a play that tells the story of the
The IANS bookshelf has all this on offer for its readers this weekend.
1. Book: Familiar Strangers; Author: Samah; Publisher: Penguin;
Pages: 217; Price: Rs 250 What if your husband's ex-girlfriend makes a sudden
comeback into your lives?
Priya and Chirag are like several other modern couples, living life at breakneck
speed, unknowingly stuck in the rut of a marriage that is obviously dying, if
not already dead. But things start to change when Priya's position in Chirag's
life is threatened by his past -- his ex-girlfriend, who returns when they least
A third person's entry into their marriage awakens emotions that have been
dormant for too long. But is it too late? Is the damage beyond repair?
2. Book: The Globetrotters; Author: Arefa Tehsin; Publisher:
Puffin India; Pages: 199; Price: Rs 199 Hudhud is horrible to everyone. He
polishes off his classmates' lunches, plays cruel pranks on his teachers and
troubles innocent creatures. Until his strange new history teacher decides to
set him straight.
The lesson? A curse! Now Hudhud must roam the vast earth. His goal? To find the
answer to all wrongs. And so begins Hudhud's remarkable journey: As a blue whale
calf separated from his mother in the deep; as a trusting caterpillar who
befriends a hunting spider; as a competitive caribou on a perilous trek; as an
Arctic tern too scared to fly.
But fly across the world he must, if he hopes to ever return home. Follow Hudhud
on this surreal trip, through the Arctic Ocean and the Sahara Desert, among
fragrant flowers and tall grass, and find out all about the inner lives of some
majestic animals and the wonders of the wild.
3. Book: Nabanna; Author: Bijon Bhattacharya; Translator: Arjun
Ghosh; Publisher: Rupa; Pages: 202; Price: Rs 295 During the relief efforts in
the wake of the Bengal famine the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA)
created "Nabanna" -- a play that tells the story of the villagers of Aminpur.
The Sammadar family is already battling extreme food shortage, starvation and
high-handedness of land sharks, when a tidal wave destroys their crops, homes,
hopes and everything. In the desperation to survive, they are forced to walk to
Calcutta (now Kolkata). But their hope of help from the Calcutta middle-class is
soon dashed by the apathy and lack of preparation that they encounter. They
return to the village and resolve to counter their fate with a new strategy.
"Nabanna" is a watershed in the history of the Indian stage on several counts.
It marks a break from the commercial stage and the inception of an activist,
amateur theatre. It transcended the limitations of the naturalistic stage to
make way for a versatile dcor which added pace to the episodic action. This book
includes a critical introduction, which traces the context and significance of
Nabanna and testimonies by important figures of the first performance of the