Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

A rustic village girl, doses of history and offerings from the wild

Telling the story of a woman called Bhaunri and her love for her husband Bheema, the fiery deserts of Rajasthan come alive in the pages of the book

  • Published 17.06.19, 8:07 PM
  • Updated 17.06.19, 8:07 PM
  • 3 mins read
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Bhaunri: A Novel; Anukrti Upadhyay; Fourth Estate; 142 pages; Rs 299 (Book cover)

‘Raw’ is a word that comes to mind while reading Bhaunri: A Novel by Anukrti Upadhyay. Having written extensively in Hindi before, one can find remnants of regional dialect in the book which fits surprisingly well with the plot of the novel. Telling the story of a woman called Bhaunri and her love for her husband Bheema, the fiery deserts of Rajasthan come alive in the pages of the book.

Married off at a tender age of three or four, Bhaunri, the fiercely independent daughter of a lohar has never met her betrothed. So when he shows up outside her house, she gasps internally. “His tall, broad-shouldered form filled the doorframe. Bhaunri’s breath caught as his shadow fell on her — she had never seen anyone as handsome as him.” Putting his gruff nature and rumours of his infamous temper aside, she embarks on a journey of passionate love, lying enamoured in bed with him. Bhaunri is not like other demure village girls; she is quick with her retorts, flawless at her chores and beautiful to look at. Slowly, as she gets embroiled with the secrets of her in-laws, her love too is put to test. From thwarting inappropriate advances from her mostly-absent father-in-law to her husband’s philandering ways, Bhaunri faces it all. As her love burgeons into something manic and bigger than her, the language, too, turns tumultuous. Indomitable Bhaunri’s obsessive love for her husband is beautifully captured in the lines “Love doesn’t fear anything, it doesn’t even fear losing love itself.” Pick up this book for a rustic lookback at rural India. 

Sherlock Unlocked: Little-known Facts About the World’s Greatest Detective; Daniel Smith; Michael O’Mara Books Limited; 192 pages; Rs 399
Sherlock Unlocked: Little-known Facts About the World’s Greatest Detective; Daniel Smith; Michael O’Mara Books Limited; 192 pages; Rs 399 (Book cover)

If there is someone who can tell you a thing or two about the world-famous detective duo Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, it’s Daniel Smith. After How To Think Like Sherlock, he is here with Sherlock Unlocked: Little-known Facts About the World’s Greatest Detective and we are surely hooked. Since his first appearance in 1887, Sherlock Holmes has been adapted into numerous stage and film productions, television, radio and more. Immersing himself deep into the world of this slightly cuckoo detective and his assistant, Smith brings to us a range of answers to questions we didn’t know we had to ask. Did you know that Arthur Conan Doyle initially planned to name the famous duo Sherrinford Holmes and Ormond Sacker, as revealed from his early notes dating back to 1886? (The world dodged a bullet there!)

The book reads like a series of short, crisp journal entries with each chapter dealing with hitherto unknown trivia. Learn about the real-life Moriarty, the underworld thief Jonathan Wild from whom Doyle took copious amounts of inspiration to draw up the character. Also learn about how Doyle wanted to finish off the character of Sherlock Holmes and had written to his mother about the same. To which came a frantic reply “You won’t! You can’t! You mustn’t!” and Sherlock Holmes lived to see another day. Over a 100 little chapters come together to give you an insight into the mind of the greatest detective and his creator. Written in simple language, this book is for people of all ages. 

Animalia Indica: The Finest Animal Stories in Indian Literature; Edited by Sumana Roy; 283 pages; Rs 699
Animalia Indica: The Finest Animal Stories in Indian Literature; Edited by Sumana Roy; 283 pages; Rs 699 (Book cover)

Think George Orwell, Rudyard Kipling, Premchand, Khushwant Singh, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Ruskin Bond, Vikram Seth and more, all under the same cover and that’s what you have in Animalia Indica — compilation of short stories, including translated works around the world of animals. Indian writing tied together with a common theme of stories of the wild is bound to interest both children and adults alike. Punctuated with wonderful illustrations of animals before every story, this is a collection of 21 short stories which even include more recent works like Perumal Murugan’s Poonachi, The Reflections of a Hen in Her last Hour by Paul Zacharia and Elephant at Sea by Kanishk Tharoor. From beautiful cover design to a great collection, this is surely a collector’s book. 

The Death of Hitler; Jean-Christophe Brisard and Lana Parshina; Hodder; 329 pages; Rs 399
The Death of Hitler; Jean-Christophe Brisard and Lana Parshina; Hodder; 329 pages; Rs 399 (Book cover)

One of the most reckoning forces in history has to be Adolf Hitler and much like his life and thoughts, his death is a mystery to the world. The book talks about his suicide in his bunker on April 30, 1945, and the Soviets who discovered his body, managing to keep the documents behind his death secret, till 2017 when two investigative journalists Jean-Christophe Brisard and Lana Parshina decided to pursue the truth behind the incident and requested access to confidential documents in possession of the Russian authorities. Even though this book is a piece of non-fiction, the story unfolds with tropes of a thrilling, fiction novel. The style of writing keeps you hooked.

Written in first person narrative, one is taken on a journey of discoveries that finally put all conspiracy theories to rest. Divided into four parts — The Investigation, Last Days of Hitler, The Investigation (II) and Conclusions? — this book is a treat for history and conspiracy theory enthusiasts.