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Biblio Files

The critics' choice of some of the memorable books of the year 1999

Biblio Files
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Ravi Dayal, publisher

The Ground Beneath Her Feet : Salman Rushdie has a warmth and a range of possibilities on every page that compensate for his excesses.

Countdown : Amitav Ghosh’s wise and decisive comment on India’s nuclear pretensions.

Out of Place : A person of rare artistic and intellectual depth, this is Edward Said’s deeply moving autobiography.

An Equal Music : Vikram Seth’s intense exploration of music makes this a memorable novel, despite some tedious moments.

The Agrarian Systems of Mughal India : The greatest by any Indian historian, Irfan Habib’s book is now available in a new edition.

Savaging the Civilised : Ramachandra Guha’s stimulating biography on a person who dedicated his life to the tribes of India.

When Dreams Travel : A lovely novel with enormous range by Githa Hariharan.

Alok Rai, lecturer, IIT, Delhi

The Gabriel Club : Joydeep Roy Bhattacharya engages with the most profound historical issues of our time: the fall of communism and its aftermath.

The Cost of Living : Arundhati Roy’s combination of conscience and high stylishness is alas, practically unique.

Bahuvachan : Ashok Vajpeyi’s miscellany is a welcome reminder, perhaps revival, of Hindi’s barely remembered intellectual inheritance.

Savaging the Civilised : Guha adds much-needed depth to our self-understandings as a society.

Outlook’s Choice

Interpreter of Maladies : Jhumpa Lahiri’s perceptive stories on the Indian diaspora.

What The Body Remembers : A refreshing, self-absorbed narrative on Partition by Shauna Singh Baldwin.

Fasting, Feasting : Anita Desai creates an unforgettable character in Uma even though she lets her down later in the book.

Savaging the Civilised : Ramachandra Guha’s biography on Verrier Elwin, is masterful.

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