Chirdeep Malhotra . Updated: 4/22/2020 12:04:15 AM Books and Authors

From an essential primer on the historical roots of the Israel/Palestine conflict, to a sneak-peek into an earlier Calcutta from a translation of a book published in 1923, our book picks this week, curated by Chirdeep Malhotra


“Fern Road” by Angshu Dasgupta

Set in 1980s’ Calcutta, Fern Road portrays with quiet sensitivity a beautiful young boy’s journey through conflict, confusion, and self-acceptance. The narrative explores gender confusion in an orthodox society, and the coming-of-age of the protagonist Orko.
A review of the book reads - “Observed with keen empathy and rich in atmospheric detail, it’s a coming-of-age story with a difference, as a young boy learns what it means to not fit into the world around him.”


“Legacy of Empire: Britain, Zionism and the Creation of Israel” by Gardner Thompson

This non-fiction book offers a clear-eyed review of political Zionism and Britain's role in shaping the history of Palestine and Israel. The author Gardner Thompson, a historian of British colonialism, explores why the British government adopted Zionism in the early twentieth century, issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and then retaining it as the cornerstone of their rule in Palestine after the First World War.
Despite evidence and warnings, over the next two decades Britain would facilitate the colonisation of Arab Palestine by Jewish immigrants, ultimately leading to a conflict which it could not contain. The book also delves into why a `two-state solution’ – which was a proposal by Britain, and was also endorsed by the United Nations after the Second World War – has so far brought into being neither two states nor a solution. A highly readable and compelling account of Britain's rule in Palestine, Legacy of Empire is essential for those wishing to better understand the roots of this enduring conflict.


“Queens of Crime: True Stories of Women Criminals from India” by Sushant Singh & Kulpreet Yadav

This book by Sushant Singh, who hosted the crime-based reality show Savdhaan India, and Kulpreet Yadav, an author, consists of short stories which are raw, violent and seemingly unbelievable but a true rendition of India's women criminals. This book demonstrates a haunting criminal power that most people do not associate women with. Grab this book to read thrilling stories about bone-chilling crime.


“Calcutta Nights” by Hemendra Kumar Roy, translated by Rajat Chaudhuri

Calcutta nights (Raater Kolkata) is the real-life story and memoir of the enigmatic ‘Meghnad Gupta’, pen name of famed Bengali fiction writer Hemendra Kumar Roy. This book has been translated into English by Rajat Chaudhuri almost a century after the first publication of Raater Kolkata in 1923. The book is set during the first two decades of the last century, which were politically turbulent times. Revealing to contemporary readers the darkest secrets of an earlier Calcutta, this book will help anyone understand the contrasts and colours of a unique Indian metropolis.

Comment on this Story