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HT reviewers pick their best reads of 2021

NAWAID ANJUM

Reviewer’s pick: Tenderness by Alison MacLeod

A dialogue across time with Lady Chatterley: Canadian-British author Alison MacLeod’s book fuses fact and fiction in a joyous celebration of DH Lawrence’s most controversial novel

SYED SAAD AHMED

Reviewer’s picks: Ibn-e-Insha’s Duniya Gol Hai (The World is Round) and Pranay Lal’s Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent .
Reviewer’s picks: Ibn-e-Insha’s Duniya Gol Hai (The World is Round) and Pranay Lal’s Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent .

Blips in Time: Obsessively reading travelogues and books on natural history as a consequence of being homebound

SIMAR BHASIN

Reviewer’s pick: Asylum Road by Olivia Sudjic
Reviewer’s pick: Asylum Road by Olivia Sudjic

Where the future became an ending: an exposition of a world order that posits itself as a liberal force while sticking to hierarchies

PERCY BHARUCHA

Reviewer’s pick: Carvalho by KP Purnachandra Tejasw, translated by DA Shankar
Reviewer’s pick: Carvalho by KP Purnachandra Tejasw, translated by DA Shankar

Weaving between satire and surrealism: A novel that evokes a childish sense of joy in exploring the uncertain

MAHMOOD FAROOQUI

Reviewer’s pick: Peechhe Phirat Kahat Kabir Kabir by Mujib Rizvi
Reviewer’s pick: Peechhe Phirat Kahat Kabir Kabir by Mujib Rizvi

The give and take that created Indo-Muslim culture: How the verses of Rumi and Sadi found a new avatar as dohas in India’s Persianate Age

LAMAT R HASAN

Reviewer’s pick: Chandni Begum and Ship of Sorrows by Qurratulain Hyder, translated by Saleem Kidwai
Reviewer’s pick: Chandni Begum and Ship of Sorrows by Qurratulain Hyder, translated by Saleem Kidwai

Found in translation: Saleem Kidwai’s translations of Qurratulain Hyder’s novels bring out the author’s command over the Urdu idiom

SUHIT KELKAR

Reviewer’s pick: Tiger Girl by Pascale Petit
Reviewer’s pick: Tiger Girl by Pascale Petit

Running through every coppice: Pascale Petit’s ecopoetry opens up the reader to remorse, compassion, hope, and perhaps Nature within us

RONNIE KX

Reviewer’s pick: The Goblin Emperor by Kathleen Addison
Reviewer’s pick: The Goblin Emperor by Kathleen Addison

The comfort of worlds unfamiliar: Dragons, mermaids, goblins and gods and reflections on class and desire in 1780s London

CHINTAN GIRISH MODI

Reviewer’s pick: The House Next to the Factory by Sonal Kohli
Reviewer’s pick: The House Next to the Factory by Sonal Kohli

Doing their best to survive; Sonal Kohli’s short stories are snapshots of lives that are made and unmade by marriage, war, miscarriage, widowhood, genocide, disability, and economic misfortunes

SONALI MUJUMDAR

Reviewer’s pick: Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
Reviewer’s pick: Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

Rediscovering an old gem: A short epistolary novel written in 1912 features the coming-of-age tale of an orphan. The author Jean Webster, who also happened to be Mark Twain’s niece, wrote more than half a dozen novels before she died at 40

THANGKHANLAL NGAIHTE

Reviewer’s pick: In the Name of the Nation by Sanjib Baruah
Reviewer’s pick: In the Name of the Nation by Sanjib Baruah

On the dreaded past and the precarious present: Fascism, democracy, India’s relationship with its northeastern states, and local memoirs

KUNAL RAY

Reviewer’s pick: A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes by Rodrigo Garcia
Reviewer’s pick: A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes by Rodrigo Garcia

Living, writing, death and loss: A son watches his father slip away while the world grieves the loss of a favourite writer

HUZAN TATA

Reviewer’s picks: The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Ira Mukhoty’s Song Of Draupadi
Reviewer’s picks: The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Ira Mukhoty’s Song Of Draupadi

Historical women in the spotlight: The last queen of the Sikh empire and a feminist take on an Indian epic

FARZANA VERSEY

Reviewer’s picks: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun
Reviewer’s picks: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun

About words, said and unsaid: Of storytelling that takes the reader to the heart of characters, to their acceptance or denial of identity, and to their exploitation and predation.

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