One of India’s first female film editors, Patil’s story, shorn of self-pity, weaves personal and professional life and is also about breaking barriers
The great Qurratulain Hyder could be wonderfully gossipy yet notoriously tetchy. Jameel Akhtar brings out the real person, her world and her creations.
Lord Jagannatha’s Ratha Yatra is one of the great ritual showpieces in Hinduism. This meticulous study lists all, but leaves out the fascinating history.
Nadeem Aslam’s novelistic Lahore bristles with rage, hatred and a demonic energy, taking a magnifying glass to Pakistan’s faultlines
The horrific excess of the Inquisition in Goa is fertile ground for a writer. But this Konkani novel is an error-prone travesty at best.
Arresting imagery and details bolster Salim’s realistic, sensual portrayal of the opposite pulls of small and big town life, as the Grim Reaper waits patiently
A stolidly varied ‘Indian’ background, swirling passions in liberal Mussoorie, his parents’ courtship, his prompt arrival and Granny’s house—snatches from an old foxtrot
Zahir Dehlvi isn’t a very reliable narrator, but his memoir describes the Mutiny in Delhi vividly. This is a loose translation of an important source.
Paleo-biologist Hope Jahren is at hand to show the wonder that is a tree. Among the thick foliage hangs the story of her struggle as a scientist.
Edouard Louis’s brutalising in his rough, provincial France has a direct connect to its right-wing rage. This is not charmingly evocative, but clinical.
When the refusal of ‘the new normal’ takes fictional form, what comes out is a sprawling tale of the triumph of broken lives—blossoms cutting defiantly through rock
The story-strands in Arundhati Roy's new novel 'The Ministry of Utmost Happiness', spin out to encompass and tie up almost all the themes that drove her non-fiction in the 20 years since her first novel, but it's also a vision of dark, comic-fabulist genius.
An anatomy of demonetisation, with little empirical data, sums up well, also directing the Centre’s eyes to issues nearer black money
Amjad Ali Khan’s recollections of 11 great classical musicians do have well-known details, but his anecdotes are lit up by a sense of ‘ethereality’
Sonal Mansingh’s metier enveloped her soul. At the forefront of a renaissance in performing arts post 1947, this is a celebration of a life danced to the full.
Getting into Jayalalitha’s shoes, Outlook’s Tamil Nadu correspondent reviews a book that seems to be only a poor caricature of Amma.
This engaging history of the RBI—rich in events and tales of conflict over policy—effectively ends in 1981. What brings up the rear is biased, tepid stuff.
Part realistically imagined historical reverie, yet rooted in Kerala’s 20th century diversity, this novel is a skilful construction of myth and memory
The royal masque in Akbar’s glittering court at Fatehpur Sikri is occasion for Sealy’s exquisite poem-prose, decorated with words, absences and old longing
Southal’s Punjabi widows lead lives of abject pettiness, yet explode into lurid sexual thoughts when prompted. This novel unearths their buried desires.
Amit Chaudhuri revisits Bombay, and collapses into a post-modern echo chamber, where authorship and memory are tossed up. Is this really a novel?
A biography of Istanbul tells of Justinian, the cult of Mary, its cosmopolitan, progressive core and its Ottoman past with lightly-worn scholarship
The Indian Railways is a country—with its own history, customs, smells, even architecture. This anecdotal, yet serious account stops at all stations.
A pioneering work on protest music in 20th century India looks into the musicality of IPTA songs and their absorption of genres far and near
Fickleness is an espionage asset, but Bhagat Ram Talwar, its great master, spun circles around his Russian, British and German handlers during WWII
The novel inhabits the forgotten world of early blues, while fakery and the fantastic, served in overlapping narratives, keeps a steady, modernist beat
The meaning of the most common term for something offering sensual and aesthetic pleasure is analysed to the bones by groups of expert professionals
A veteran of our space programme tells a proud, brick-by-brick story of ISRO, built by a band of idealistic young scientists and keen international exchanges