Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar
My Father’s Garden | Speaking Tiger
Through gripping, taut prose that glints like a knife in moonlight, Shekhar follows his narrator from medical school in Jamshedpur, a lengthy sojourn in Pakur to a disillusioned return to his adivasi politician-father’s place in Ghatsila. A record of three consuming relationships, Shekhar is also very good at writing about sex (a rare quality, as ever), with Ray’s Memory Game put to a startling use.
Second Night | Rupa
The hop from a cliché romance set in Delhi University to quick sketches of characters in Mussoorie happens quickly enough to get any sceptical reader interested in the material. Our protagonist is pining lover, jolly drinker, day-dreamer all at the same time. Nestled in between somewhere are those two honeymoon nights in Mussoorie, around which the tale is spun.
Living Hell | Penguin
A film historian, actor and thespian parades the old Holywood plot and parcels it into a novel: the disgruntled owner of a vapid, sadsack life stumbles into murder and sinister conspiracy and runs for his life and sanity. “Mr Makhija sat on the commode, his mouth agape, his eyes looking on in the distance and his neck greatly swollen and disfigured.” Pure Hitchcock manqué.