From Kenya to Amritsar, these six new novels showcase life in an ever-changing India

Tarashnama: The QuestBy Ismail Darvesh, translated from Bengali by V. Ramaswami

Set in Sadnahati, a Muslim-majority village in West Bengal, Search Report It tells the story of Liziyya, an educated and headstrong woman with a troubled past.

Haunted by a terrible secret, Rizia elopes with her Hindu tutor Suman Nath, only to discover that her true love is Tahirul, a local imam torn between duty and desire. On the day she leaves home, she is accused of painting anti-Islamic graffiti on the wall of the village mosque, an incident that leaves the villagers confused and infuriated. Ten years later, Suman Nath commits suicide and Rizia must return to Sadnahati, full of blame and recriminations.

1990, AlamganjTranslated from Hindi by Rakesh Kayastha and Varsha Tiwary

In Mohalla Alamganj, wild speculations are rife about the imminent arrival of LK Advani’s Ram Rath. People who could barely commit themselves to the anti-Mandal movement are now agitating. What will their love for Ram make them do? Conversations shift, relationships become strained and new animosities emerge. How will this turmoil affect Ashiq Miyan, a daredevil “Mohammadiyah Hindu” who is a well-known Ram bhakt and the owner of Two-in-One Tailoring Shop?

Set in the rural town of Alamganj, a microcosm of India, the characters embody caste pride, religious superstition and patriarchy, all of which contribute to the story’s gruesome climax.

White BloodNanak Singh, translated from the Punjabi by Dilraj Singh Suri

When a ticket-selling policeman intercepts a traveller without a ticket at Amritsar railway station, he is shocked to discover that the raggedly dressed and penniless young man is none other than the widely acclaimed author Gupteshwar. But even more disconcerting than the writer’s condition is the story of his new novel, which exposes the moral corruption that pervades 20th century Punjab. As the author reads from the unfinished manuscript, it becomes clear that the tale of the two women he is weaving is no fiction at all.

Man is prayer, Ammar Kalia

Bedi and Sushma’s marriage is arranged. When they first meet, they have a halting conversation about happiness and hope, and agree to go in search of it together. But even after their children Serena, Tara and Rohan grow up and have families of their own, Bedi and Sushma are still searching. Years later, brother and sister try to navigate life without their parents. As they journey to the Ganges to merge their father’s ashes with its opaque waters, it becomes clear that they have both inherited the same desire to know what makes life happy, the same confusion about this question, and the same enduring hope.

17 Morris RoadSharma Hair

With her children soon to be independent, Gayatri Trivedi is at a crossroads: her only son has left for the land of pizza and coke, her husband is indifferent to her feelings, and her teenage sweetheart is asking her to return to Dehradun. But Dehradun has changed a lot, as has Arbor House, the colonial bungalow that still holds a special place in her heart. Now, back in Dehradun, she is transported back in time, reminiscing about the people who changed her life when she was 16.

DarakoParashar Kulkarni

Set in colonial India, Darako It tells the story of the Paanwala and its secrets, a spitting contest that grows into a mega event drawing talent from everywhere, an Afghan rebel who is both a star spit-taker and a mystic, gun smuggling during the independence movement, a murder in broad daylight and a thrilling romance amidst utter chaos, where up is down and down is up. Darako It uses satire to comment on religion, identity and freedom.

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