Paperback Pickings

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 5.11.10
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When two worlds meet

Children of a better God (Penguin, Rs 250) by Susmita Bagchi is an exploration of the world of children living with disabilities through the eyes of Anupurba, a homemaker who returns from the United States of America to start teaching art at a school for children with cerebral palsy. Translated from Oriya into English by Bikram K. Das, this book is a laudable attempt by Bagchi to create interest in the lives of differently abled children so that society eventually comes around and affords them the dignity of a life free from pity and stigma. Although a bit too simplistic at times, the narrative is lucid and touching. While talking of children with ‘disabilities’, the book makes us conscious of the disability our society suffers from — our innate prejudices that make us judgmental of, or unfair towards, those who are different from us.

 

Inspector Singh investigates: The Singapore School of Villainy (Piatkus, Rs 295) by Shamini Flint is the third book in the popular series about the lovable Sikh detective who works for the Singapore police force. Summoned to investigate the murder of a senior partner of a law firm who was bludgeoned to death, Inspector Singh finds himself surrounded by a whole bunch of people who could have done it. The book has all the makings of a successful whodunnit. At the same time, it manages to highlight and explore Singapore’s murky side, made up of outdated laws, which no longer serve their purposes, and barely concealed racial tensions.

 

Turbulence (Hachette, Rs 250) by Samit Basu is an undoubted success, to put it mildly. Basu, who has a flair for writing futuristic fantasies, has come up this time with an exciting story about a group of airline passengers who find themselves endowed with superpowers. Ben Aaronovitch is quite right when he says that the book will make one laugh, cry and demand a sequel. Superheroes like Aman, Tia and Uzma must not only come to terms with the sudden increase in their abilities, but must also save themselves from a mysterious figure trying to hunt down the passengers aboard the London-Delhi flight. The prose is mature, funny and thrilling in equal measure. Basu’s latest offering reinforces the belief that fantasy fiction is a genre that can be enjoyed at any age.