Fruit of passion
Shastri Ramachandaran
The Alchemy of Desire.
by Tarun J. Tejpal. HarperCollins, India. Pages 518. Rs 500
I was tempted to dump it (unread) in Chandigarhís Sukhna Lake, like the nameless protagonist in Tarun Tejpalís novel who drowns his second manuscript. For two reasons: One, V. S. Naipaul commends it as "a new and brilliantly original novel from India". If that was not provocation enough, Tejpal himself was not actually extending an invitation when he declared publicly, "I donít care at all about what journalists say about my book. The best reviewers have drifted out of mass media anyway".

Knight before the split
Partition was around, and only he could thwart it
V. N. Datta
Punjab Politics, 1936-1939:
The Start of Provincial Autonomy: Governorsí Fortnightly Reports and Other Key Documents
Compiled and edited by Lionel Carter. Manohar, New Delhi. Pages. 443. Rs 995.
IN addition to the editorís short introduction, the volume contains in full the fortnightly reports of the Governor of Punjab to the Viceroy (with copies to the Secretary of State to India) from October 1936 to the end of 1939. Some enclosures relating to the points raised in the reports are also included with few additional documents.

Death of a prophet
M. S. Unnikrishnan
THE legend of O. V. Vijayan, like his classic, The Legend of Khazak, will survive time and tide. His first novel, Khazakkinte Ithihasam (The Legend of Khazak), earned him iconoclastic status. That the novel has gone into a 39th edition of reprint affirms the fable associated with this allegorical tale. Generations of readers have got hooked to Khazak as its mystic flavour never gets dated.

Yet another brick in the wall
Aritra Mukhopadhyay
European Calcutta: Images and Recollections of a Bygone Era
by Dr Dhrubajyoti Banerjea. UBSPD Publishers. Pages 339. Rs 595.
Cities, they say, have certain chemistry, a charm, of possessing you. Especially so when the city happens to be Calcutta. The charm of the city grows on you and you donít even realise. It is this charm of Calcutta that the author, Dr Dhrubajyoti Banerjea, has tried to capture through a photographic documentation in his book, European Calcutta: Images and Recollections of a Bygone Era.

Signs and signatures
The First Lady of American Fiction
Darshan Singh Maini
Edith Wharton, an aristocrat, loved the ambience of orchids, champagne and chandeliers which lingered as a matter of taste and sentiment.

Prose writer with poetic flair
Jitendar Awasthi
Aliterary giant, Dr Vidya Niwas Mishra imbued the world of Hindi letters with a new sensibility. Be it teaching or his literary and journalistic pursuits, Mishra left a mark in every field. A man of many parts, he was an astute astrologer too. His death in a road accident on February 14 has left a vacuum in the literary world.

Short Takes
Rights, lifestyle and technology
Randeep Wadehra
Human Rights in India and Pakistan
by Indu Singh & Ajay Saksena Deep & Deep. Pages: viii + 219. Rs 350
Human rights go hand in hand with the march of civilisation. A dignified life free of fear and want forms the bedrock of a civil society. The authors of this volume tell you that not all is well with Indiaís human rights record. Be it Kashmir, the North-east, Gujarat or even places not considered communal hotspots, police brutality and excesses by other security forces have been documented by our media.

  • Quality of Life in the Himalayan Region
    edited by Prof. LR Sharma Indus. Pages: 296. Rs 600

  • Asia Unplugged
    edited by Madanmohan Rao & Lunita Mendoza
    Response Books. Pages: 464. Rs 850.