Penguin Random House Posts

Chitra Bannerjee Divakurni, “Before We Visit the Goddess”


Earlier this week I interviewed Chitra Bannerjee Divakurni via email about her latest novel, Before We Visit the Goddess, published by Simon & Schuster. The review-cum-interview article has been published by newly launched literary website, Bookwitty.com on 20 May 2016. Here is the original url: https://www.bookwitty.com/text/573df5efacd0d0353bea32f7 . I am c&p the text below. One of the things I did not point out in the review but continues to bewilder me is the use of a Rajasthani woman on the book cover when all the books by the author focus on Bengali women.

 

One day, in the kitchen at the back of the store, I held in my hand a new recipe I had perfected, the sweet I would go on to name after my dead mother. I took a bite of the conch-shaped dessert, the palest, most elegant mango color. The smooth, creamy flavor of fruit and milk, sugar and saffron mingled and melted on my tongue. Satisfaction overwhelmed me. This was something I had achieved myself, without having to depend on anyone. No one could take it away…

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni occupies a capital place in global publishing as is evident in her moves between publishers from Picador to Penguin Random House and now to Simon & Schuster. She may be of Indian origin and her stories are very Bengali oriented but they have far greater international appeal. She moved to the USA in the 1970s but remains culturally sensitive to Bengali women’s stories. For years now she has worked with women’s organizations that help survivors of domestic abuse and trafficking. As she told me, “I am on the advisory board of Maitri in the San Francisco area and Daya in Houston. Maybe for this reason, it is important for me to write about strong women who go through difficult situations and are strengthened further by them. This is certainly true of my newest book, Before We Visit the Goddess. I never use the stories I come across in my activist work – those are confidential. But I am sure on some level they have influenced me as a writer and a human being.”

Her early works focused on the known world of Bengali women in the villages and cities, interpersonal relationships, on the home, inside the kitchen, women to women, and the importance of gossip. One such work, Mistress of Spices (1997) was turned into a film in 2005 with noted Bollywood actress and former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

A decade later, the path breaking The Palace of Illusions ( 2008) was published. It is a feminist retelling of the ancient Indian epic the Mahabharata from the point of view of the King of Panchala’s daughter. It was a bestseller and according to Pan Macmillan India, now years after publication it continues to sell steadily at around 15,000 copies every year. This was a watershed moment in Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee’s life as a writer. The Palace of Illusions is now to be made into a film directed by the legendary Aparna Sen, which Divakaruni says she is very excited about. She also began to write young adult fiction such as Brotherhood of the Conch series (2003), in reaction, she told me at the time, to racist abuse she experienced with her sons in the US post 9/11.

She quickly returned to writing her trademark literature. Her later novels are written with a stronger voice and with an assertion of her multi-cultural makeup. As she says, “I have many identities, but ultimately labels are just that – labels. My sensibility as a writer has been shaped by living in India and America, Bengal and Assam and California and Texas. … I would like to think of myself as a global, multicultural writer with roots deep in India – and now Houston.”

She writes with great sensitivity to youth especially immigrants coming to the US. The confusion they face, the hostility, the racism, negotiating their way through life but also the unexpected benevolence of humankind that exists.

Before We Visit the Goddess is Divakaruni’s latest novel and sixteenth publication. In the fashionable mold of contemporary fiction with a five-generation saga, it predominantly details the lives of the second, third and fourth generation of women, Bela, Sabitri and Tara. But there is always much, much more tucked into the stories about the grandmother, mother and daughter. A strong characteristic of Divakaruni’s novels is the exploration of relationships between women, the inter-generational gap, the challenges and victories woman experience and the cultural differences of living in India and the US.

“My sensibility as a writer has been shaped by living in India and America, Bengal and Assam and California and Texas.”

To her credit, Divakaruni creates charmingly and deceptively simple women-centric novels. She never presents a utopian scenario focusing only on women and excluding any engagement with men and society. Instead she details the daily negotiations and choices women face that slowly help them develop into strong personalities:

“I believe in the right of women to live a life of dignity and make their own choices about important decisions in their lives. Therefore, I believe in women’s education, empowerment, and financial independence. These themes are all very important in Before We Visit the Goddess.”

It could be, for instance, the timid homemaker Bela’s insistence on taking her late husband’s firm to court to seek compensation for his death in a factory fire and to everyone’s surprise, winning, or Sabitri’s warm friendship with her gay neighbor, Kenneth, who helps her to establish herself successfully as a food blogger. Without being over-sentimental, Kenneth is tender and radiates pure love.

Divakaruni wrote about her character, “The young gay Caucasian male, Ken, became one of my favorite characters as I was writing him. I hope his unusual relationship with Bela will surprise and delight readers.”

Even the bright Tara who, besides a stray phone call or two, disappears from her family’s life after her parents’ divorce lives an adventurous decade. This includes working at a second-hand shop, becoming a drug addict, being sacked from jobs, babysitting an Indian grandmother transplanted to America who feels as if she is “being buried alive”, or driving an Indian academic to a temple in Texas with equally catastrophic and cathartic consequences. What is admirable about these women is that despite humiliation and hardship, they strive to get ahead.

The stories also work beautifully if read aloud. To my delight, I discovered that Divakaruni does just that with passages from her stories while drafting them, since “you become aware of the rhythm of the language you use”.

The structure of her prose is like a fluid stream of consciousness, evident in the manner in which she plays with the epistolary form and breaks it up in the first chapter when Sabitri is writing a letter to her granddaughter, Tara. Divakaruni believes that with women, “our thought-connections are often emotional ones.”

It is exactly this emotional resonance she wishes to explore and exploit in Before We meet the Goddess, deeming it a “novel-in-stories”. It is “a form that allows me to go through three generations of lives, their ups and downs, in an agile and swift manner, a non-chronological manner. This is important for me, because in some ways this is a novel about memory and how it colors and shapes our understanding of our life. Each chapter in the novel is a stand-alone story, focusing on a moment in the lives of these women, an emotionally significant moment, perhaps a moment of transformation – either good or bad. The stories have many narrators – not just the three women, but the man important in their lives – even if just for one day. Such a structure allows me to organize the novel according to emotional resonance.”

In Before We Visit the Goddess the author takes the different phases of life in her stride without making any of the experiences sentimental, such as young Bela’s pain, or the loneliness, and whimsical and wretched behavior of Leelamoyi, Bela’s wealthy benefactress. Her trademark fiction of the world of Bengali women remains steadfast but she also develops the inter-generational differences magnificently. She did her research, she said, by conversing with young Indians including those who have moved to or are studying in the US, and speaks via Skype to classes in colleges that teach her books. She is active on social media and “loves interacting with her readers”.

At a time when debate rages in the US as to whether the word “India” should be replaced with “South Asia” in school history textbooks, Divakaruni’s novel is more than auspicious. According to The New York Times, “The dispute centers on whether the region that includes modern-day India, Pakistan and Nepal should be referred to as India or as South Asia, to represent the plurality of cultures there — particularly because India was not a nation-state until 1947. It also touches on how the culture of the region is portrayed, including women’s role in society and the vestiges of the caste system. It might seem somewhat arcane. But it has prompted petition drives, as well as a #DontEraseIndia social media campaign and a battle of opinion pieces.

Divakaruni’s books have always elegantly examined multi-cultural identities and what it means to be an Indian, an American or a desi (people from the Indian sub-continent or South Asia who live abroad). In her masterfully crafted Before We Visit the Goddess, young Tara epitomizes the new generation of American-Indians — not ABCD (American Born Confused Desis) anymore but with a distinct identity of their own. As a diplomat told me recently, she may be of Indian origin but has no roots or family in the country and has not had any for generations. So a posting to India is as much of an exciting new adventure as it would be for anyone else visiting the country for the first time. Divakaruni’s latest novel examines these many layers of cultures, interweaving the traditional and contemporary.

Chitra Bannerjee Divakurni Before We Visit the Goddess Simon & Schuster, London, 2016. Hb. Pp. 210. Rs 499 / £ 16.99

20 May 2016

Saadat Hasan Manto, 11 May

11 May is Saadat Hasan Manto’s birthday. He is remembered for his short fiction, his commentaries, his Manto, Penguin Indiajournalistic pieces including those on filmmakers and much more. He is one of the few writers who is associated with subcontinent writing about the social, cultural and political milieu. There is no doubt he was a deeply political writer who had a fraught relationship with the Progressive Writer’s Association. Decades after his death he continues to be read, translated and discussed with passion. It has something to do with the crisp, clear, straight-from-the-heart manner of writing. Apparently he wrote furiously and in large quantities.

 

Lallantop, MantoIn recent years much of his body of work has been made available inManto and Ravish English — jottings on cinema and actors, on Bombay, short fiction etc. Take for instance the Hindi website, thelallantop.com, celebrating a month of  Manto (  http://www.thelallantop.com/tehkhana/saadat-hasan-manto-best-stories-in-hindi-thanda-gosht/ ) and Rajkamal Prakashan Group, a highly respected Hindi publishing firm has collaborated with an FM radio channel and has RJ Sayema reading out stories Manto 3every Friday night. Leftword recently brought out an incredible collection of Manto’s essays — Saadat Hasan Manto: The Armchair Revolutionary and Other Sketches which has an introduction by Nandita Das. ( http://bit.ly/23H6IsQ ). Penguin Random House, India has for some time been publishing a lot of Manto books. Some of these are:

PRH 1PRH 4
PRH 3

PRH 2

11 May 2016

PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE AND DISNEY INDIA BRING DISNEY’S ICONIC STORIES AND CHARACTERS CLOSER TO INDIAN CHILDREN

 

Penguin & Disney

 

 

PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE AND DISNEY INDIA BRING

DISNEY’S ICONIC STORIES AND CHARACTERS CLOSER TO INDIAN CHILDREN

 

PRHMarch 08, 2016, Delhi: Penguin Random House and Disney India’s Consumer Products Disney Indiabusiness today announced the launch of Disney books. Penguin Random House will now hold the rights in India for publishing Disney’s iconic Mickey & Friends characters as well as – Aladdin, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Dumbo and the cast of The Jungle Book.

Published under the Puffin imprint and aimed at young readers, the fully-illustrated books will include readers, storybooks, colouring & activity as well as novelty books.

The first series of titles will be available to consumers March 14, 2016 onwards and will include Dumbo and Aladdin colouring books, Jungle Book, Dumbo and Peter Pan Treasured Classic editions, Peter Pan and Dumbo storybooks and readers Mickey’s Round Up, Donald’s Special Delivery, Minnie’s Rainbow, Minnie Red Riding Hood and Mickey Mouse Flies the Christmas Mail.

“Puffin India has long published some of India’s finest writing for children with generations brought up on books from authors including Ruskin Bond, Sudha Murty and Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. We are delighted to now be working with Disney India to bring their well-loved characters to readers with a specific range of Indian publishing”, said Gaurav Shrinagesh, CEO, Penguin Random House in India.

“Disney is synonymous with storytelling. We all have grown up reading Disney stories and are familiar with Disney characters and classics such as Mickey & Friends, Aladdin, Pinocchio and many more. We are happy to be working with Puffin India to launch a series of Disney books for the new generation of readers in the country,” said Abhishek Maheshwari, VP & Head, Consumer Products, Disney India

 

For further details, please contact:

Caroline Newbury | Penguin Random House | cnewbury@penguinrandomhouse.in

Namita Jadhav | Disney India | namita.jadhav@disney.com

Richa Anand | Disney India | richa.anand@disney.com

 

About Penguin Random House:

Headquartered in New York City Penguin Random House is the international home to nearly 250 publishing imprints, with operations in 20 countries across five continents, publishing 70,000 digital and 15,000 print titles annually and with more than 100,000 eBooks available worldwide. We publish more than 70 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.

Penguin Random House in India is part of The Penguin Random House Group worldwide. As India’s longest established international publishing company, we are the proud publishers of many of India and the subcontinent’s finest writers and publishing talent. Our authors have won prizes including the Nobel Prize, the Magsaysay Award, the Jnanpith Award, the Sahitya Akademi Award, Pulitzer Prize, Man Booker Prize, Man Booker International Prize, Commonwealth Writers Award, Shakti Bhatt Prize and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.

In addition to our Indian publishing program, we also make available over 30,000 of Penguin Random House’s international titles to our readers across India and the subcontinent every year.

Penguin Random House is committed to expanding our role as a cultural institution that serves society not only with the books we publish and investments we make in new ideas, creativity, and diverse voices, but also our belief in the power of books to connect and change lives. Together, our mission is to foster a universal passion for reading by partnering with authors to help create stories and communicate ideas that inform, entertain, and inspire, and to connect them with readers everywhere and across print and digital platforms.

About Puffin India:

Puffin Books India is the children’s imprint of Penguin Books India. Started in 1939, today Puffin is one of the largest, most diverse and successful children’s brands both in India and abroad. With an award-winning range of best-selling titles, Puffin’s ever expanding publishing list spans picture books, fiction, poetry and non-fiction. With a winning combination of literary classics and appealing commercial fiction, Puffin remains a children’s books innovator and perennial reader favourite.

Some of Puffin India’s finest writers include Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Ruskin Bond, Sudha Murty, R.K. Narayan, Anita Desai, Satyajit Ray, Devdutt Pattanaik, Jerry Pinto, Payal Kapadia, Anita Nair, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Subroto Bagchi, Derek O’ Brien, Paro Anand, Subhadra Sen Gupta, Ranjit Lal.

About Disney India’s Consumer Products Business:

Disney is the largest retail character licensor in the world with US$45 billion in character merchandising retail sales globally in 2013. The Consumer Products business includes: Toys; Fashion & Home; Food, Health & Beauty (FHB); Consumer Electronics; Stationery; Publishing and Retail Sales and Marketing. The Consumer Products business plays a critical role in providing Indian consumers a chance to bring a piece of the Disney magic home through a wide range of creative and locally appealing merchandise.

 

Today, Disney-branded products are available across a million retail locations in India. Disney-branded products are present in close to 500 retail touch points including hypermarkets with more than 3,000 SKUs across categories. Working with over 150 licensees across categories, Disney India’s Consumer Products retail branding, such as the unique Disney-branded corners in prominent retail outlets including Hamley’s and Big Bazaar, continue to reach more and more consumers across the country. Disney-branded products are available across all the key online portals with branded pages on Amazon and Flipkart and with strategic presence in portals like Myntra, Jabong, Snapdeal and more.

About Disney Publishing Worldwide:

Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) is the world’s largest publisher of children’s books, magazines, and apps, igniting imagination through storytelling in ever-inventive ways. DPW creates and publishes books and magazines both vertically in-house and through an extensive worldwide licensing structure. As a leader in digital products, DPW creates best-selling eBook titles and best-in-class original apps. DPW is also committed to the educational development of children around the world through Disney Learning, which includes Disney Imagicademy, as well as Disney English and other Disney-themed learning products. Headquartered in Glendale, California, DPW publishes books, magazines and digital products in 85 countries in 75 languages. For more information, visit www.disneypublishing.com.

Caroline Newbury

VP Marketing and Corporate Communications

Random House India

Penguin Random House

 

7th Floor, Infinity Tower – C

DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon 122002, Haryana

P +91 124 4785600

F + 91 124 4785606

Sunil Khilnani’s “Incarnations”


Even the terms used to describe the famous Indian uprising against the British in 1857 are political positions. Was it a mutiny, or India’s First War of Independence? Rebellion or uprising? A nationalist movement or a string of local protests?

p.243, “Lakshmi Bai, Rani of Jhansi: Bad-ass Queen (1828-1858)”

‘A society, almost necessarily, begins every success story with the chapter that most advantages itself,’ the American public intellectual Ta-Nehisi Coates recently argued regarding mythic constructions of liberation all over the world. ‘[C]hapters are almost always rendered as the singular action of exceptional individuals.’ In modern India’s myth of finally, formally confronting its brutal history of case, Bhimrao Ambedkar is that exceptional individual. But every Great Man story is also a story of circumstance. Had India not been devastated by Partition, the formidable lawyer and scholar who led the untouchables might not have become the founding father most meaningful to ordinary Indians today.

p.468 “Ambedkar: Building Palaces on Dung Heaps (1891-1956)”

Sikri’s battlements, palaces, shrines proclaim imperial grandeur. But its airy pavilions and halls share little in common with the heavy monumentalism of Versaille or the Habsburg seats of power. Parts of the city have the feeling of a tent encampment, except that the animal skins and wood frames have been replaced by stone and marble, carved with great skill by local craftsmen. Walking through this now desolate cityscape in the dry heat, you might feel, at certain turns, as if you were in one of M.C. Escher’s drawing, reworked with the stark surrealism of Giorgio de Chirico. It’s like touring the physical manifestation of a mind — the expansive, syncretic mind of its creator: Akbar, the greatest of the Mughal emperors. 

p. 165 “Akbar: The World and the Bridge ( 1542-1605)

Sunil Khilnani’s magnificent Incarnations: India in 50 Lives gives a bird’s-eye view of history via the short account of people through their ages. The fifty people profiled are those who left a significant stamp in the socio-cultural-political and economic make-up of this land evident in modern India –a nation state that is very complicated, multi-layered. These biographical accounts written like “non-fiction short stories” detail the life and achievements of the person being profiled while placing them neatly in their historical and contemporary context. Incarnations has been published to coincide with the BBC Radio 4 series http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05rptbv. The principle of arrangement of this book is probably borrowed from another extremely popular BBC Radio 4 series + sumptiously produced book by Neil MacGregor, then director of the British Museum, on A History of the World in 100 Objects  ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nrtd2/episodes/downloads ).

Yet Incarnations is very much in the tradition of books written trying to make history accessible to the lay reader. To document history in this fashion probably began with Jawaharlal Nehru’s Glimpses of World History to many accounts at chronicling this fascinating sub-continent by authors like Amartya Sen, Jean Dreze, Shashi Tharoor, Ramachandra Guha, Patrick French, Bipin Chandra, Romila Thapar, Percival Spear, Narayani Gupta, Subhadra Sen Gupta ( for children) et al. There were many volumes that were published to coincide with the fiftieth year of Independence but it is for the first time that a historian like Sunil Khilnani has put together an account that incorporates even lesser known individuals such as Malik Ambar the African slave who become powerful political force to contend with.

We live in a noisy, reactionary and surprisingly ahistorical world where lies and misinterpretations get amplified rapidly using social media platforms. So to have a book recount landmark moments in history through well-written biographies is a crucial and much appreciated contribution to social discourse. The style of writing is wonderfully catchy beginning with the chapter headings. For instance, Rani Lakshmi Bai, the queen who is almost revered for her resistance to the British colonial rulers in the nineteenth century with Indian school children even today being taught to memorise poems extolling her heroism; she is simply referred to as the “Bad-Ass Queen”. The list of contents is a delight to read. Similarly are the introductory paragraphs to every chapter –packed with facts, information and incorporating the broad spectrum of views on how the moment in history being discussed in the chapter has been perceived. It is a remarkable example of immense scholarship with a fine sensibility of being able to communicate with a non-academic audience. Peppered in the book are cross-references to other chapters illustrated by the names being marked in bold, a neat technique taken from academic publications and inserted into a trade title.

Outlook magazine’s 19 February 2016 issue focussed on Sunil Khilnani’s book with generous extracts from the book along with an in-depth interview by Satish Padmanabhan. Here is a link to the special issue and interview: http://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/issue/11449 and http://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/self-criticism-and-not-glib-self-congratulation-is-the-deepest-form-of-patriotis/296684 .

For all the stupendous historical detailing in each biography there are some disturbingly jallianwala-baghpuzzling glossing over historical facts. For instance not referring to General Dyer by name instead saying “the officer” ( p.437) or referring to the campaign of installing Gandhi’s statue in London ( 2015) led by Lord Meghnad Desai and his wife, Lady Kishwar Desai but once again not pinning it in history by taking any names. Baffling since General Dyer is well-remembered in India and the 14 March 2015topiary at Jallianwala Bagh nevers allows anyone to forget the dastardly massacre. Similarly, the campaign to instal Gandhi’s statue was a very political and public event splashed across worldwide media with David Cameron PM, UK and Arun Jaitley, Union Finance Minister, India, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, Amitabh Bachchan,  Lord Meghnad Desai and Lady Kishwar Desai attending the unveiling of the statue. So it does leaves a tiny lingering of doubt about the other bits of history that may have been silenced. Even so, this is is a splendid book and must be read.

Sunil Khilnani Incarnations: India in 50 Lives Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books, Penguin Random House, UK, 2016. Hb. pp. 636 Rs. 999

9 March 2016

 

Penguin Random House signs a co-publishing deal with Manjul Publishing House

PRH

Penguin Random House reinforces commitment to India’s regional languages
New co-publishing deal with Manjul Publishing
Vaishali Mathur appointed to
Head of Language Publishing and Rights

Penguin Random House in India today strengthened its commitment to ensuring its authors’ works reach the widest possible readership by announcing a new co-publishing partnership for local language translation with Manjul Publishing House and the appointment of Vaishali Mathur to Head of Language Publishing and Rights.

Under the partnership with Manjul Publishing, Penguin Random House titles will be made available in Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi in the first roll out phase. An initial list of about 50 titles will be released over the course of 2016, growing to a wider range in the coming years.  This list will encompass both adult and children’s titles across fiction and non-fiction, and consist of both newly released titles and some of Penguin Random House’s most popular perennial bestsellers. To drive this initiative, Vaishali Mathur will take on the newly created role of Head of Language Publishing and Rights.  Alongside her current role as Executive Editor for commercial publishing, Vaishali will take on a wider responsibility for further language sales as well as rights deals to language publishers in India and worldwide.

CEO Gaurav Shrinagesh comments:

“It has long been Penguin Random House’s aim to provide books and content for a large range of readers, not only throughout India but also across the globe.  Through this new strategic partnership with Manjul Publishing and the appointment of Vaishali to oversee our translation and rights sales, I am delighted that we will now be able to expand the reach of our authors’ works across languages and territories.”

Vaishali Mathur, Executive Editor and Head of Language Publishing and Rights adds:

I am extremely enthused with this opportunity to bring Penguin Random House’s extensive catalogue of Indian and International books to the readers of local languages across the country. With this program we will be able to reach out to a larger readership and provide our authors with a wider canvas.”

Vikas Rakheja, Managing Director, Manjul Publishing House says:

“We at Manjul Publishing House are thrilled to be associating with Penguin Random House in India to co-publish their select titles in Hindi and other Indian language translations. At Manjul we hold the unique distinction of single-handedly creating the niche segment of Indian language translations in the Indian publishing industry and are pleased that we will now be able to apply this expertise to popular Penguin Random House titles. We are certain that this co-publishing venture will successfully take mainstream titles from the Penguin Random House stable to the vernacular reader in India, thereby expanding their reach considerably.”

In addition to focusing on translations to local languages, Penguin Random House in India has long been the leading publisher for translation of works into English.  Through its acclaimed Penguin Classics list as well as individual translations, its authors have been lauded with awards including those of the Sahitya Akademi, the Crossword Book Award and for the past three years its translated fiction has appeared on the shortlist for the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.

Caroline Newbury

VP Marketing and Corporate Communications

Random House India

Penguin Random House

 cnewbury@penguinrandomhouse.in

20 Feb 2016

Paul Kalanithi – ” When Breath Becomes Air”

When breath becomes air“…I found myself increasingly often arguing that direct experience of life-and-death questions was essential to generating substantial moral opinions about them. Words began to feel as weightless as the breath that carried them. Stepping back, I realized that I was merely confirming what I already knew: I wanted that direct experience. It was only in practicing medicine that I could pursue a serious biological philosophy. Moral speculation was puny compared to moral action. ( p.43)

Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air is an account of his being17856882._SY540_ diagnosed with cancer, the birth of his daughter, rediscovering religion (though his parents were Christian and Hindu) and his death, as narrated in an epilogue by his wife, Lucy. It is a heartbreakingly beautiful book written with surgical precision and an objective insight that only a doctor can possess. It comes across throughout the book but is evident when Paul Kalanithi is recalling a terribly acute back spasm he had while at a railway station. As he lay on the hard wooden bench to manage the pain he was reciting the name of every single muscle that was paining.  In Jan 2014 he wrote an essay for the New York Times called, “How long have I got left?” ( http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/25/opinion/sunday/how-long-have-i-got-left.html ) and it went viral. Subsequently he wrote/interviewed for Stanford Medicine in Spring 2014 called, “Before I go” ( http://stanmed.stanford.edu/2015spring/before-i-go.html ).

Paul Kalanithi was a voracious reader when he was a child. His father and his elder brother were doctors but when Paul applied to university, his first preference were the literature and history courses. But before leaving his then girlfriend in Arizona encouraged him to read a “low brow” book that she had enjoyed instead of the “high culture” reading he was constantly immersed in. This brow book influenced Paul considerably. It talked about the importance of the mind and the brain. After finishing the book, he browsed through the courses being offered at Stanford and began to explore some of the biological science classes too. He turned out to be an exceptional student who would survive the 88-hour week and more, plus study and remained top of the class. Unfortunately cancer intervened in the eighteen months of his residency. This put immense pressure on his marriage to Lucy who was also at Stanford. But despite the hiccups, Lucy and Paul were together through the first phase of his treatment. At this point he did not require chemotherapy as the cancer began to respond to the oncologist’s treatment. So much so, Paul returned to work a few months later, although on a lighter schedule. Within days he had returned to his full workload of surgeries and was in the OT every day. Unfortunately soon the cancer returned. This time far more virulently. He read his own scans at the end of a long day at work. Here is a very moving excerpt from the book published in the New Yorker on 11 January 2016 where Paul recollects his last day at work — “My last day as a surgeon”.  (http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/my-last-day-as-a-surgeon )

Paul Kalanithi with CadyPaul left the manuscript incomplete on his computer. He requested his wife to complete it. Lucy Kalanithi has written a heartrendingly poignant essay as the epilogue to the book. Like her husband, Lucy too is a medical professional, but there is marked difference in their writing styles. Unlike her husband who brings in his love for literature with his passion for medicine to write crisply and objectively, Lucy writes gently, calmly, but the pain at losing her much beloved husband is unmistakable. She completes the book by describing his last day, holding his eight-month-old daughter for the last time, the funeral, the memorial service and his grave. ( I was weeping by the time I finished reading the essay.) On 6 January 2016, Lucy Kalanithi wrote in the New York Times, “My Marriage Didn’t End When I Became a Widow”. ( http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/06/my-marriage-didnt-end-when-i-became-a-widow/) It describes some of the memories she recounts in the epilogue.

When Breath Becomes Air would be better seen as having been written by husband and wife. The tragedy that befell such a young family where the couple had promising careers ahead of them can only be experienced by reading the book in one sitting, reading/hearing Paul at first and then closely followed by Lucy’s voice grieving at the loss of a much loved husband, companion, friend, father, son, brother and surgeon. His memorial service in Stanford was attended by his family, friends, colleagues and patients.

I have often wondered what it must be like for a doctor to realise they are ill and their mind analyses, evaluates every stage while they are sick. When Paul kept prompting his oncologist for some idea of the realistic time it would require him to recover, she kept evading his question. At one point in the book he has an epiphany when he realises it is sometimes best to stop being a doctor and looking after oneself but be treated by others, instead of second guessing their treatment.

When Breath Becomes Air  is a very moving book and should be read by everyone.

( The images used to accompany this article are from the Internet. I do not own the copyright to them at all. If anyone knows who owns them, please let me know and I will acknowledge the source.)

Paul Kalanithi When Breath Becomes Air ( Foreword by Abraham Verghese) The Bodley Head, an imprint of Vintage, Penguin Random House, London, 2016. Hb. pp. 230 £ 12.99

1 February 2016

Penguin Classics from Penguin Random House India ( 8 Sept 2015)

This is a fabulous catalogue of books. Many of them are being reissued, many are translations commissioned for the first time and some are award-winning books. They have been rejacketed splendidly. A collection worth reading, dipping into, owning in personal and library collections. I am copy-pasting the catalogue with some of the beautiful book covers. For more information please contact Ambar Sahil Chatterjee, Associate Commissioning Editor, Penguin Random House India. 

Penguin_Group-logo-311DF536C6-seeklogo.com

PENGUIN CLASSICS

MODERN CLASSICS
Bengali

BENGALI
CHATTOPADHYAY, SARATCHANDRA
The Final Question
Translated by Dept of English, Jadavpur University
9780143067788 • 392 • `399 • B/PB • World
Srikanta
Translated by Aruna Chakravarthi
9780143066477 • 504 • `499 • B/PB • World
DAS, JIBANANANDA Selected Poems
Translated by C. Das Gupta
9780143100263 • 104 • `199 • B/PB • World
MITRA, PREMENDRA Mosquito and Other Stories
Translated by Amlan Das Gupta
9780143063902 • 192 • `200 • B/PB • World
PARASHURAM Selected Stories
Translated by Sukanto Chaudhuri and Palash Baran Pal
9780143062202 • 324 • `299 • B/PB • World
RAY, SATYAJIT Indigo: Selected Stories
Translated by Indrani Majumdar
9780143068099 • 264 • `350 • B/PB • World
TAGORE, RABINDRANATH
‘A towering figure in the millennium-old literature of Bengal’ New York Review of Books
‘Not only an immensely versatile poet; he was also a great short story writer, novelist, [and] essayist’ Amartya Sen
Farewell Song
Translated by Radha Chakravarthy
978014341632 • 162 • `199 • B/PB • World except US

Gitanjali
Translated by William Radice
9780143419563 • 344 • `399 • B/PB • World
Gora
Translated by Radha Chakravarthy
9780143065838 • 544 • `499 • B/PB • World
He (Shey)
Translated by Aparna Chaudhuri
9780143102090 • 176 • `250 • B/PB • World
Home and the World
Translated by Sreejata Guha
9780143031413 • 240 • `350 • B/PB • World
Letters from a Young Poet: 1887-1895
Translated by Rosinka Chaudhuri
9780143415763 • 364 • `499 • B/PB • World
Postmaster: Selected Stories
Translated by William Radice
9780140188547 • 322 • `350 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Selected Poems
Translated by William Radice
9780140183665 • 208 • `299 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
English

ALI, AGHA SHAHID The Country Without a Post Office
9780143420736 • 104 • `250 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only

ANAND, MULK RAJ
Coolie
9780140186802 • 208 • `299 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Seven Summers
9780144000180 • 256 • `250 • B/PB • World
Untouchable
9780143027805 • 160 • `200 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
DAS, KAMALA Selected Poems
Edited with an introduction by Devindra Kohli
9780143421047 • 328 • `399 • B/PB • World
HOSAIN, ATTIA Sunlight on a Broken Column
9780143066484 • 336 • `399 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent and
Singapore only
MARKANDAYA, KAMALA Nectar in a Sieve
9780143066576 • 200 • `250 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent and
Singapore only
MEHROTRA, ARVIND KRISHNA Collected Poems: 1969-2014
Introduction by Amit Chaudhuri
9780143420842 • 336 • `399 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
MEHTA, VED
Daddyji
9780143421030 • 232 • `399 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Face to Face: An Autobiography
9780143420767 • 328 • `499 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Mahatma Gandhi and His Apostles
9780143421023 • 312 • `399 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Portrait of India
9780143422303 • 640 • `699 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
MORAES, DOM Selected Poems: 1954-2004
Edited with an introduction by Ranjit Hoskote
9780143418320 • 368 • `499 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent and
Singapore only

NARAYAN, R.K.
‘A first-rate storyteller’ New Yorker
The Guide
Introduction by Pico Iyer
9780143414988 • 224 • `299 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
The Man-eater of Malgudi
Introduction by Pico Iyer
9780143414964 • 216 • `225 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
The Vendor of Sweets
Introduction by Pico Iyer
9780143414971 • 176 • `250 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Waiting for the Mahatma
Introduction by Pico Iyer
9780143414995 • 224 • `225 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
NEHRU, JAWAHARLAL The Discovery of India
9780143031031 • 656 • `650 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent and
Singapore only
‘Gives an understanding of the glorious intellectual and spiritual
tradition of [a] great country’ Albert Einstein
RAMANUJAN, A.K. Folktales from India
9780143066439 • 456 • `499 • Demy/PB • India only
RAO, RAJA
‘A pathbreaker of Indian writing in English’ Guardian
The Cat and Shakespeare
Introduction by R. Parthasarathy
9780143422327 • 240 • `299 • B/PB • World except North America
Collected Stories
Introduction by R. Parthasarathy
9780143422310 • 240 • `299 • B/PB • World except North America

Kanthapura
Introduction by R. Parthasarathy
9780143422341 • 240 • `299 • B/PB • World except North America
The Serpent and the Rope
Introduction by R. Parthasarathy
9780143422334 • 400 • `499 • B/PB • World except North America
TAGORE, RABINDRANATH Nationalism
Introduction by Ramachandra Guha
9780143064671 • 164 • `250 • B/PB • World

Hindi

ASHK, UPENDRANATH
Falling Walls
Translated by Daisy Rockwell
9780143423690 • 440 • `599 • Demy/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Hats and Doctors
Translated by Daisy Rockwell
9780143417187 • 240 • `299 • B/PB • World except North America
JAINENDRA The Resignation: Tyagpatra
Translated by Rohini Chowdhury
Introduction by Mridula Garg
9780143415244 • 200 • `250 • B/PB • World
KAMLESHWAR Partitions
Translated by Ameena Kazi Ansari
9780143063704 • 384 • `350 • B/PB • World

PREMCHAND
‘One of the subcontinent’s best loved writers’ The Hindu
The Co-wife and Other Stories
Translated by Ruth Vanita
9780143101727 • 304 • `350 • B/PB • World
Playground: Rangbhoomi
Translated by Manju Jain
9780143102113 • 692 • `599 • Demy/PB • World
RAKESH, MOHAN One Day in the Season of Rain
Translated by Aparna Dharwadker and Vinay Dharwadker
9780670088027 • 288 • `499 • B/HB • World
SAHNI, BHISHAM
‘His literary merits—sharp wit, gentle irony, all-pervasive humour, penetrating
insight into character, mastery as raconteur, and profound grasp of the yearnings
of the human heart’ Outlook
Today’s Pasts: A Memoir
Translated by Snehal Shinghavi
9780670086665 • 300 • `499 • B/HB • World
Basanti
Translated by Shveta Sarda
9780143419815 • 220 • `299 • B/PB • World
Mansion
Translated by Shveta Sarda
9780143419822 • 352 • `399 • B/PB • World
Middle India
Translated by Gillian Wright
9780143066460 • 256 • `350 • B/PB • World
Boyhood
Translated by Anna Khanna
9780143420071 • 240 • `299 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent except Bhutan
Tamas
Translated by the author
9780143063681 • 360 • `399 • B/PB • World

Tamas
Translated by Daisy Rockwell
9780670088058 • 360 • `499 • B/HB • Indian Subcontinent only
SHUKLA, SHRILAL Raag Darbari
Translated by Gillian Wright
9780143418894 • 360 • `399 • B/PB • World
‘If fiction is the moral history of our time, Shrilal Shukla chronicled
it with a poignancy never seen before’ Frontline
VAID, KRISHNA BALDEV
‘A stalwart of Hindi literature’ The Hindu
The Broken Mirror
Translated by Charles Sparrows and the author
9780143419785 • 420 • `499 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
The Sculptor in Exile
Translated by the author
9780143419808 • 296 • `399 • B/PB • World
Steps in Darkness
Translated by the author
9780143419792 • 184 • `299 • B/PB • World
VERMA, NIRMAL
‘A uniquely tender sensibility’ Amitav Ghosh
Days of Longing
Translated by Krishna Baldev Vaid
9780143419143 • 232 • `299 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
A Rag Called Happiness
Translated by Kuldip Singh
9780143420033 • 192 • `299 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only

The Red Tin Roof
Translated by Kuldip Singh
9780143420019 • 240 • `299 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
YADAV, RAJENDRA Strangers on a Roof
Translated by Ruth Vanita
9780143423829 • 264 • `299 • B/PB • World
YASHPAL
Divya
Translated by Anand
9780143103127 • 304 • `299 • B/PB • World
This Is Not That Dawn: Jhootha Sach
Translated by Anand
Introduction by Harish Trivedi
9780143103134 • 1119 • `799 • Demy/PB • World

Malayalam

DAS, KAMALA
‘A rebel who defied categorisation’ The Times
Childhood in Malabar
Translated by Gita Krishnankutty
9780143068358 • 224 • `299 • B/PB • World
VIJAYAN, O.V. The Legends of Khasak
Translated by the author
9780143063674 • 216 • `250 • B/PB • World

Oriya

 

TAMIL
NAGARAJAN, G. Tomorrow Is One More Day
Translated by A. Julie and Abbie Ziffren
9780143414124 • 128 • `199 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent,
Singapore and Malaysia only
RAMASWAMY, SUNDARA
One of the most versatile and innovative of Tamil writers, a great modernist
and a dazzling stylist
Children, Women, Men
Translated by Lakshmi Holmstrom
9780143420149 • 552 • `499 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Winner of the Crossword Prize for Translation 2014
Tamarind History
Translated by Blake Wentworth
9780143065616 • 220 • `299 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Waves
Translated by Lakshmi Holmstrom and Gomathi Narayanan
9780143420156 • 200 • `299 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
22
TELUGU
CHASO Doll’s Wedding and Other Stories
Translated by David Shulman and Velcheru Narayana Rao
9780143068686 • 216 • `299 • B/PB • World
URDU
ALI, AHMED; MAHMUD-UZ-ZAFAR; JAHAN, RASHID
AND ZAHEER, SAJJAD Angaaray
Translated by Snehal Shingavi
9780670087174 • 208 • `499 • B/HB • World
The iconic book that changed the rules of Urdu literature
CHUGTAI, ISMAT
‘Urdu’s most courageous and controversial woman writer’ Sunday Herald
A Life in Words: Memoirs
Translated by M. Asaduddin
9780143420316 • 312 • `399 • B/PB • World
Winner of the Crossword Prize for Translation 2013
Lifting the Veil: Selected Stories
Translated by M. Asaduddin
9780143066453 • 288 • `350 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation 2004
IKRAMULLAH Regret: Two Novellas
Translated by Faruq Hassan and Muhammad Umar Memon
9780143423126 • 264 • `299 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
25
IQBAL Taking Issue and Allah’s Answer
Translated by Mustansir Dalvi
9780143416852 • 184 • `299 • B/PB • World
MANTO, SAADAT HASAN
‘The undisputed master of the modern Indian short story’ Salman Rushdie
Bitter Fruit: The Very Best of Saadat Hasan Manto
Translated by Khalid Hasan
9780143102175 • 736 • `650 • Demy/PB • World
Kingdom’s End: Selected Stories
Translated by Khalid Hasan
97801434102182 • 240 • `399 • B/PB • World
Mottled Dawn: Fifty Sketches and Stories of Partition
Translated by Khalid Hasan
Introduction by Daniyal Mueenuddin
9780143418313 • 214 • `299 • B/PB • World
My Name Is Radha: The Essential Manto
Translated by Muhammad Umar Memon
9780670086900 • 340 • `599 • Royal/HB • Indian Subcontinent only
Stars from Another Sky
Translated by Khalid Hasan
Introduction by Jerry Pinto
9780143415367 • 200 • `350 • B/PB • World
MAZOOM, REZA RAHI A Village Divided
Translated by Gillian Wright
9780143063667 • 395 • `395 • B/PB • World
NAIYER, MASUD
‘A poet’s storyteller’ Agha Shahid Ali
Collected Stories
Translated by Muhammad Umar Memon
TBC • 600 • Royal/HB • `899 • World
The Occult
Translated by Muhammad Umar Memon
9780670086993 • 240 • `399 • B/HB • South Asia except Pakistan

BLACK CLASSICS

BENGALI
CHAKRAVARTI, KAVIKANKAN MUKUNDARAM Chandimangal Translated by Edward M. Yazijian
9780143422181 • 360 • `399 • B/PB • World
DUTT, MICHAEL MADHUSUDAN The Poem of the Killing of Meghnad: Meghnādbadh kābya
Translated by William Radice
9780143414131 • 552 • `499 • B/PB • World
HOSSAIN, ROKEYA SAKHAWAT Sultana’s Dream and Padmarag Translated by Barnita Bagchi
9780144000036 • 228 • `250 • B/PB • World
A feminist utopian cult classic
ENGLISH
CHATTOPADHYAY, BANKIM CHANDRA Rajmohan’s Wife
Introduction by Meenakshi Mukherjee
9780143067436 • 168 • `250 • B/PB • World
FRENCH
DUTT, TORU Diary of Mademoiselle D’Arvers
9780143032557 • 168 • `200 • B/PB • World
32 33
GUJARATI
ANANDGHAN It’s a City-showman’s Show!: Transcendental Songs of Anandghan
Translated by Imre Bangha and Richard Fynes
9780143415558 • 168 • `299 • B/PB • World except North America
and Australia
HINDI
BANARASIDAS Ardhakathanak: A Half Story
Translated by Rohini Chowdhury
Introduction by Rupert Snell
9780143100546 • 360 • `399 • B/PB • World
The first autobiography in the Indian literary tradition
KABIR Kabir: The Weaver’s Songs
Translated by Vinay Dharwadker
9780143029687 • 328 • `399 • B/PB • World
Winner of the Sahitya Akademi English Translation Award 2007
KANNADA
I Keep Vigil of Rudra: The Vachanas
Translated with an introduction by H.S. Shivaprakash
9780143063575 • 262 • `299 • B/PB • World
Speaking of Siva
Translated by A.K. Ramanujan
9780140442700 • 200 • `250 • B/PB • India only
KASHMIRI
DĚD, LAL I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Děd
Translated by Ranjit Hoskote
9780143420781 • 328 • `299 • B/PB • World
Winner of the Sahitya Akademi English Translation Award 2013
MALAYALAM
PUNTANAM AND MELPATTUR Two Measures of Bhakti
Translated by Vijay Nambisan
9780143064480 • 108 • `150 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent and
Singapore only
PALI
Jatakas, The: Birth Stories of the Bodhisatta
Translated by Sarah Shaw
9780144001477 • 408 • `399 • B/PB • World

PERSIAN
GHANI, TAHIR The Captured Gazelle: The Poems of Ghani Kashmiri
Translated by Mufti Mudasir Farooqi and Nusrat Bazaz
9780143415626 • 280 • `399 • B/PB • World
KHUSRAU, AMIR In the Bazaar of Love: The Selected Poetry of Amir Khusrau Translated by Paul E. Losensky and Sunil Sharma
9780143420798 • 224 • `299 • B/PB • World
A comprehensive selection from one of the best-loved and most accomplished poets of the subcontinent
PRAKRIT
The Absent Traveller: Prakit Love Poetry from the Gathasaptasati of Satavahana Hala Translated by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra
9780143100805 • 120 • `199 • B/PB • World
‘Witty, terse, spare, memorable’ A.K. Ramanujan
Circle of Six Seasons: A Selection from Old Tamil, Prakrit and Sanskrit Poetry Translated by Martha Ann Selby
9780141007724 • 200 • `250 • B/PB • World
Forest of Thieves and the Magic Garden
Translated by Phyllis Granoff
9780140437225 • 384 • `399 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only

SANSKRIT
BANA Kadambari
Translated by Padmini Rajappa
9780143064664 • 424 • `399 • B/PB • World
Winner of the Sahitya Akademi English Translation Award 2014
Bhagavad Gita, The
Translated by Juan Mascaro
9780140441215 • 128 • `250 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
BHASA The Shattered Thigh and Other Plays
Translated by A.N.D. Haksar
9780143104308 • 160 • `250 • B/PB • World
DANDIN Tales of the Ten Princes: Dasa Kumara Charitam
Translated by A.N.D. Haksar
9780143104223 • 218 • `250 • B/PB • World
Hindu Myths
Translated by Wendy Doniger
9780144000111 • 357 • `399 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
KALIDASA
The greatest poet of the Sanskrit language
Abhijnanashakuntalam: The Recognition of Shakuntala
Translated by Vinay Dharwadker
9780670087464 • 300 • `399 • B/HB • World
Kumarasambhavam: The Origin of the Young God
Translated by Hank Heifetz
9780143424079 • 240 • `399 • B/PB • World
The Loom of Time
Translated by Chandra Rajan
9780144000784 • 344 • `399 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only

Malavikagnimitram: The Dancer and the King
Translated by Srinivas Reddy
9780143424086 • 176 • `399 • B/PB • World
Raghuvamsam: The Line of Raghu
Translated by A.N.D. Haksar
9780670087105 • 208 • `399 • B/HB • World
KAUTILYA The Arthashastra
Translated by L.N. Rangarajan
9780140446036 • 872 • `650 • Demy/PB • World
The pre-eminent manual on statecraft
KSHEMENDRA
The Courtesan’s Keeper: Samaya Matrika
Translated by A.N.D. Haksar
9780143421474 • 200 • `299 • B/PB • World
Three Satires from Ancient Kashmir
Translated by A.N.D. Haksar
9780143063230 • 184 • `250 • B/PB • World
MALLA, KALYANA Suleiman Charitra
Translated by A.N.D. Haksar
9780143420590 • 144 • `250 • B/PB • World
MANU Laws of Manu
Translated by Wendy Doniger and Brian K. Smith
9780140445404 • 368 • `450 • B/PB • India only
NARAYANA Hitopadesa
Translated by A.N.D. Haksar
9780144000791 • 260 • `299 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
PATANJALI Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra
Translated by Shyam Ranganathan
9780143102199 • 336 • `399 • B/PB • Commonwealth countries and South Asia only
The foundational text for the practice of yoga

Rig Veda
Translated by Wendy Doniger
9780140444025 • 344 • `399 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
SANKARA The Roots of Vedanta
Translated by Sudhakshina Rangaswami
9780143064459 • 480 • `499 • B/PB • World
ŚARMA, VISNU The Panćatantra
Translated by Chandra Rajan
9780144000715 • 512 • `499 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Seduction of Shiva, The: Tales of Life and Love
Translated by A.N.D. Haksar
9780143415404 • 256 • `399 • B/PB • World
Simhasana Dvatrimsika: Thirty-Two Tales
Translated by A.N.D. Haskar
9780140447484 • 216 • `250 • B/PB • World
SIVADASA The Five and Twenty Tales of the Genie
Translated by Chandra Rajan
9780144000456 • 336 • `299 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
SOMADEVA Tales from the Kathasaritasagara
Translated by Arshia Sattar
9780140247213 • 264 • `350 • B/PB • World
Subhashitavali: An Anthology of Comic, Erotic and other Verse
Translated by A.N.D. Haksar
9780143101369 • 208 • `250 • B/PB • World
TRYAMBKAYAJVAN The Perfect Wife: Stridharmapaddhati
Translated by Julia Leslie
9780140435986 • 392 • `375 • B/PB • World

Upanisads, The
Translated by Valerie J. Roebuck
9780140447491 • 503 • `499 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
VALMIKI Ramayana
Translated by Arshia Sattar
9780140298666 • 696 • `699 • B/PB • World
A brilliant, beloved translation of the great Indian great epic
VATSYAYANA
Kama Sutra: A Guide to the Art of Pleasure
Translated by A.N.D. Haksar
9780670085637 • 240 • `450 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana
Translated by Richard Burton
9780143066446 • 258 • `350 • B/PB • World
TAMIL
Extraordinary Child
Translated by Paula Richman
9780143063179 • 312 • `375 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent and
UK only
ILANGO Cilappatikaram: The Tale of an Anklet
Translated by R. Parthasarathy
9780143031963 • 440 • `450 • Demy/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Winner of the Sahitya Akademi English Translation Award 1995
KAMBAN The Kamba Ramayana
Translated by P.S. Sundaram
9780143028154 • 464 • `450 • B/PB • World
Love Stands Alone: Selections from Tamil Sangam Poetry
Translated by M.L. Thangappa
Introduction by A.R. Venkatachalapathy
9780143103974 • 256 • `299 • B/PB • World
Winner of the Sahitya Akademi English Translation Award 2012
River Speaks,The: The Vaiyai Poems from the Paripatal
Translated by V.N. Muthukumar and Elizabeth Rani Segran
9780143415077 • 182 • `250 • B/PB • World except North America

NAMMĀLVĀR
A Hundred Measures of Time: Tiruviruttam Translated by Archana Venkatesan
9780143066378 • 280 • `399 • B/PB • World
Hymns for the Drowning Translated by A.K. Ramanujan
9780144000104 • 175 • `250 • B/PB • World
Red Lilies and Frightened Birds: Muttollayiram Translated by M.L. Thangappa
Introduction by A.R. Venkatachalapathy
9780143064855 • 240 • `299 • B/PB • World
TIRUVALLUVAR Kural
Translated by P.S. Sundaram
9780144000098 • 168 • `250 • B/PB • World
TELUGU
APPARAO, GURAJADA Girls for Sale: Kanyasulkam Translated by Velcheru Narayana Rao
9780143066880 • 366 • `350 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
KRISHNADEVARAYA, SRI The Giver of the Worn Garland: Amuktamalyada Translated by Srinivas Reddy
9780143065456 • 264 • `250 • B/PB • World
A masterpiece by the sixteenth-century emperor Krishnadevaraya
of Vijayanagaram

MUDDUPALANI The Appeasement of Radhika
Translated by Sandhya Mulchandani
9780143417484 • 200 • `250 • B/PB • World
TURKISH
BABUR Babur Nama
Translated by Annette Beveridge
Selected with an introduction by Dilip Hiro
9780144001491 • 385 • `450 • B/PB • World
URDU
AMMAN, MIR A Tale of Four Dervishes
Translated by Mohammed Zakir
9780140245738 • 158 • `199 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
Tilism-e-Hoshruba: The Enchantment of the Senses
Translated by Shahnaz Aijazuddin
9780143102724 • 924 • `699 • Demy/PB • World
The world’s first magical fantasy epic

 

MISCELLANEOUS CLASSICS

ARABIC
Quran
Translated by Tarif Khalidi
9780670084173 • 560 • `599 • B/HB • Indian Subcontinent only
BENGALI
CHATTOPADHYAY, SARATCHANDRA Classic Saratchandra 9780144000142 • 816 • `699 • Demy/PB • World
TAGORE, RABINDRANATH Classic Rabindranath Tagore 9780143416326 • 1136 • `599 • Demy/PB • World
TAGORE, RABINDRANATH I Won’t Let You Go: Selected Poems Translated by Ketaki Kushari Dyson
9780143416142 • 320 • `450 • Demy/PB • Indian Subcontinent and
Singapore only
ENGLISH
ANAND, MULK RAJ Classic Mulk Raj Anand
Edited with an introduction by Saros Coswajee
9780143422402 • 728 • `599 • Demy/PB • Indian Subcontinent only
AUSTEN, JANE Classic Jane Austen
9780143068594 • 1336 • `550 • Demy/PB • World
52 53
CARROLL, LEWIS Classic Lewis Carroll
9780143068617 • 1176 • `599 • Demy/PB • World
DOYLE, SIR ARTHUR CONAN Classic Sherlock Holmes
9780143068600 • 1128 • `599 • Demy/PB • World
NARAYAN, R.K. Indian Epics Retold
9780140255645 • 630 • `599 • B/PB • Indian Subcontinent and
Singapore only
SANSKRIT
Bhagavad Gita, The
Translated by Juan Mascaro
9780670084166 • 124 • `350 • B/HB • Indian Subcontinent only
Mahabharata, The Volumes 1-10
Translated by Bibek Debroy
9780143424789 • `4999 • Demy/PB • World
The greatest story ever told, now in its definitive translation
‘Debroy’s lucid and nuanced retelling of the original makes
the masterpiece even more enjoyably accessible’ Open
‘Excellent . . . A pleasure to read’ Tribune
Volume 1
9780143425144 • 536 • `499 • Demy/PB • World
Volume 2
9780143425151 • 528 • `499 • Demy/PB • World
Volume 3
9780143425168 • 648 • `499 • Demy/PB • World
Volume 4
9780143425175 • 624 • `499 • Demy/PB • World
Volume 5
9780143425182 • 632 • `499 • Demy/PB • World
Volume 6
9780143425199 • 560 • `499 • Demy/PB • World
Volume 7
9780143425205 • 600 • `499 • Demy/PB • World
Volume 8
9780143425212 • 752 • `499 • Demy/PB • World
Volume 9
9780143425229 • 760 • `499 • Demy/PB • World
Volume 10
9780143425236 • 726 • `499 • Demy/PB • World
VALMIKI Ramayana
Translated by Arshia Sattar
9780670084180 • 696 • `699 • B/HB • World

 

For more information please contact:

Ambar Sahil Chatterjee ( achatterjee@penguinrandomhouse.in )

Associate Commissioning Editor

Penguin Books India

Penguin Random HousePRH logo

 

 

ABIJNANASAKUNTALAM_WEB

 

 

 

A HUNDRED MEASURES OF TIME_web

THE CAT AND SHAKESPEARE_webANGAARAY_web (1)

 

 

MY NAME IS RADHA_web (2)

Vikas Khanna – two books

In the past few months I have received two books related to Vikas Khanna, an award winning Michelin starred Indian chef. One is a picture book, The Magic Rolling Pin, and the second is Shaken & Stirred — a collection of 101 non-alcoholic blend recipes. In India he has also acquired a fantastic fan following among children ever since he was a judge on MasterChef Junior, India. He comes across as an affable and a pleasant presenter, whose warmth radiates from the television screen or in still photographs circulating on the Internet.

Vikas Khanna, DK, April 2015Shaken & Stirred is a collection of 101 recipes of cooling drinks. The book’s release has been timed well with the onset of summer in North India. Reading some of the recipes such as “Sassy Peach Karat”, “God’s Own Drink” made with lemongrass stalk and coconut milk, “Orange Pepper Samba”, “Rose Sunrise Refresher” and “Kokum Granita” makes you want to sip them immediately. The food photographs accompanying the recipes are outstanding. ( Indian publishing has come a long way from producing insipid pictures in recipe books. Instead the pictures in this particular DK book have a razzmatazz that is magical. Most of the photo credits go to Vikas Khanna.) But I have my reservations about many of these recipes. They seem exotic and many of the ingredients seem impossible to get locally or available at an exorbitant price. It is interesting that for a man hailing from Punjab, who learned his cooking from his grandmother, there is not a single recipe with mango given. At a time when chefs like Jamie Oliver make cooking seem so easy and are not averse to being influenced by flavours worldwide, I cannot help but feel that Vikas Khanna’s recipes are much like what the Indian authors of the diaspora are doing with literary fiction — their memories of their time spent in India are sharp but are being recreated with a panache using words, acceptable to an international palate. Vikas Khanna is doing something similar with cuisine.

Speaking of his grandmother, The Magic Rolling Pin, is a hagiographical picture book recounting Vikas Khanna’s childhood. The images areCrossword-InorbitMalad-VikasKhanna-TheMagicRollingPin-14Nov2014 computer created showing a happy young boy intrigued by the kitchen, his Biji bustling about cooking and later their involvement in the langars organised at the Golden Temple, Amritsar. But it is a complicated picture book since the reason for its publication does not seem to be the target audience, instead it is capitalising on the success of Vikas Khanna. As an idea it is worth considering, only if the book had been produced with care, focusing on the quality of illustrations, providing accurate information ( a reference to “golden clothes for Baisakhi” is accompanied by an illustration of the boy wearing red clothes) and being technically sound in laying of text involving repetition of words and using phonetics. There is far too much emphasis on the young boy in the illustrations making the text unidimensional, with little detail in the page layouts making it difficult for a child to get involved with the story, since a young reader clamours with comments like, “Show, show”; “Look, look” and “Did you not notice the detail before? I did!”. A good example of picture books that are technically sound and use bland computer illustrations are the Ladybird “Read it Yourself” series. Maybe these could have been emulated in the production and design of The Magic Rolling Pin, otherwise it is an excellent opportunity lost of introducing children to reading via an idol they admire.

Having said that, both books will remain with me for a long time since they are a good insight into Vikas Khanna, the chef, the humanitarian and restauranteur.

Vikas Khanna The Magic Rolling Pin Puffin Books, Delhi, India, 2014. Hb. pp.40 Rs 299

Vikas Khanna Shaken & Stirred: 101 non-alcoholic blends to lift your spirits DK, Penguin Random House, New Delhi, India. Hb. pp. 250 Rs 899

11 May 2015 

Helen Macdonald, “H is for Hawk”

H is for HawkThe archaeology of grief is not ordered. ( p.199)

Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk is about her relationship with her goshawk, Mabel. Grieving for the Mabel on her first day at homesudden loss of her father, a well-known Fleet Street photographer, Helen Macdonald decides to buy a goshawk for eight hundred pounds sterling and train it — in the hope it will help her deal with her sadness. Her love for the bird stems from a lifelong passion for the wild birds of prey. As a child she scoured bookshops with her father to buy books on the subject. It is during one of those missions she came across T.H. White’s The Goshawk. With time and repeated readings, her understanding of the book and of the writer evolved too. Helen is an experienced falconer but never an austringer. Yet, she decided to buy Mabel and train her on the outskirts of Cambridge but as she discovers, “the wild is not a panacea for the human soul; too much in the air can corrode it to nothing.” ( p.218)

According to her literary agency, Marsh Agency, Helen Macdonald is a writer, poet, illustrator, historian, and naturalist, and an affiliated research scholar at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, where she teaches to graduate level. Over the years she’s also worked as a Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge, as a professional falconer, assisted with the management of raptor research and conservation projects across Eurasia, and bred hunting falcons for Arab royalty. She’s also sold paintings, worked as an antiquarian bookseller, organised academic conferences, shepherded a flock of fifty ewes and once attended an arms fair by mistake. Helen’s blog Fretmarks contains short essays on subjects as various as wild boar, Brighton, pop culture, World War II, golden orioles, solar eclipses, travels in Central Asia, falconry, and many of her experiences with Mabel. www.fretmarks.blogspot.com Helen can be found on twitter as @HelenJMacdonald. (http://www.marsh-agency.co.uk/authors/?id=3513)

New_H-and-mabel-wa_2987055cH is for Hawk is a beautiful meditation on nature, loneliness and mourning.  The exquisite manner in which it is written, making extraordinary use of the English language is breathtaking. Helen Macdonald deservedly won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2014 and Costa Book of the Year 2014. Many  reviewers have commended it for it being a memoir, albeit a misery memoir. For me, H is for Hawk, H is for T.H.White, H is for Helen, and H is for her father. If it is the only book you  have time for this year, read it. It wont be time or money wasted. It will be an enriching experience.

Read an extract from her book:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10989164/H-is-for-Hawk-Helen-Macdonalds-intense-relationship-with-her-goshawk-Mabel.html .

Some reviews

1. Janette Curie, “Grief and the goshawk” TLS, 29 Oct 2014 ( http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1476820.ece )

2. Kathryn Schulz, “Rapt: Grieving with your goshawk.” The New Yorker, 9 March 2015 ( http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/03/09/rapt )

3.   Nick Willoughby “You can’t tame grief”: Helen Macdonald on her bestselling memoir “H Is for Hawk” Salon, 10 March 2015 (http://www.salon.com/2015/03/09/you_can%E2%80%99t_tame_grief_helen_macdonald_on_her_bestselling_memoir_h_is_for_hawk/ )

4. Marck Cocker,  “H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald” The Guardian, 23 July 2014 ( http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jul/23/h-is-for-hawk-helen-macdonald-review )

A few notable meditations on Nature published in recent months:

1. George Monbiot ” Back to Nature” http://www.bbc.com/earth/bespoke/story/20141203-back-to-nature/index.html

2. George Macfarlane “The word-hoard: Robert Macfarlane on rewilding our language of landscape”, 27 February 2015 (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/27/robert-macfarlane-word-hoard-rewilding-landscape?CMP=share_btn_fb )

3. Anand Vivek Taneja, ” A city without time: Anand Vivek Taneja remembers a dead river in a Delhi that has turned its back on it, just as it has on a language that was its own” March 2015 (http://indianquarterly.com/a-city-without-time/)

4. Ruskin Bond A Book of Simple Living Speaking Tiger Books, New Delhi, India. Hb. 2015

( Note: The images used in this blog post are off the internet, discovered using Google images. I do not hold the copyright to these photographs.)

Helen Macdonald H is for Hawk Vintage Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, London, 2014. Pb. pp.300 £8.99 

#bookadayindia

#bookadayindia

PRH logo

Every day in December, Penguin Random House will be dedicating its @rhindia and @penguinindia Twitter handles to a discussion about books, characters and authors with a #bookadayindia campaign – and is encouraging everyone to join in!

Already hugely successful in both the UK and US, the Book A Day hashtag gives the chance for book lovers to share thoughts about their favourite writing and writers on Twitter. Every day has a different theme and readers can share their thoughts and suggestions – and debate with fellow bibliophiles – simply by answering with the hashtag.

Coming towards the end of 2014 some of the topics will include a look back over people’s favourite reads of 2014, their anxiously anticipated books for 2015 and their perennial favourites. Each day’s topics are:

PRH Book a Day

So please be in touch and join the debate!

Check out @rhindia and @penguinindia every day to find out the day’s topic – then tweet your thoughts including the hashtag #bookadayindia

Caroline Newbury
VP Marketing and Corporate Communications
Random House India
Penguin Random House