August 01, 2020
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C.P. Surendran’s fourth novel, the new sensation in poetry and celebrating Irish writer Flann O’Brien

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New Births

“The morning I turned 17, the mountain before me swayed a little as I listened to Elizabeth saying into my phone that I had become a father. It sounded like a crime so enormous I could only deny it at first.” This is how C.P. Surendran’s fourth novel, Birthing, begins. It’s the story of a boy trying to understand his wrong love, and his search for his lover. The novel ranges through themes like love, nationalism, and fatherhood. Not only that, his latest collection of poems, Available Light, is also scheduled for this year. The collection has 125 new poems and a selection from his earlier work, with an introduction by Ranjit Hoskote.

Spine To Carry

Rupi Kaur, 23, Canadian of Ind­ian origin, is the new sensation in poetry. Her self-published collection, Milk and Honey, an edgy, stream-of-consciousness pouring of somewhat rhyming words has got her nearly 5,00,000 followers on Instagram (where she gained notoriety for posting pictures of menstr­ual blood), and is now a NYT bestseller. This is from a poem called Women of Colour: “Our backs/tell stories/no books have/the spine/to carry”.

A Spot of Irish

Flann O’Brien was the Irish writer of genius the world didn’t celebrate. James Joyce called O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds ‘a really funny book’, and after that, sadly, he was slotted as a comic writer. His The Third Policeman is a kind of Alice in Wonderland for adults, where the hero has casual chats with the man he has murdered and ends up in a village obsessed with bicycles. The book catches the idiosyncrasies of the Irish with sharp wit and crazy twists. He died on All Fools Day 50 years ago, and is great to curl up with on a rainy day.

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