I WAS COMPLETELY MESMERISED and unsettled by The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay. It is a brutally truthful analysis of the idea of nationhood and unbelievably well crafted for a debut novel. This is a novel which is brilliant in every grain, telling a story about our troubled nation from the deep inside. Marvellously translated from Bengali, by Arunava Sinha, There’s Gunpowder in the Air by Manoranjan Byapari is about a prison break in Bengal during the Naxal days. Yet it is not about prison or violence alone. As you read it, it unfurls to give one a disturbing and visceral view of our democracy and our idea of justice.
My Father’s Garden by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar is a rare gem of a novel, in content and craft, for it narrates the story of how caste and class bite into the life of an educated and empowered Adivasi in the modern India. The craft is brilliant, letting the story unfold in three sections in incisive prose.
Eating Wasps by Anita Nair and The City and the Sea by Raj Kamal Jha had a very similar unsettling effect on me and I think they together provide an insight into the act of violence against women from two perspectives.
Although let down by the translator miserably and unpardonably, I consider The Final Solitude originally written in Tamil by S Ramakrishnan a bold and ambitious experiment in theme and craft. It is an intelligent effort to illustrate the times we are living in using the stories from a distant past.