Off the shelf
Heads that rose, heads that rolled
V. N. Datta
VIVA—Facts on File: Biographical Dictionary of Modern World Leaders 1900-1991.
ed John C. Fredriksen Viva Books, New Delhi. Pages 534. Rs 2,685.
THE present volume, by following a conventional approach, includes biographical entries covering the 132 nations extant at the time along with the United Nations and the Holy See. The editor restricts his entries to heads of state who assumed power at the turn of the century up through 1991.

Books received: ENGLISH


Fantasies of a fading master
In the latest offering by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the scenes and descriptions when the writing ignites are fewer and further between than in any earlier Marquez. Review by Amanda Hopkinson
Memories of My Melancholy Whores,
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, translated by Edith Grossman Jonathan Cape, £ 10, Pages 115
IN Colombia, a lorry was hijacked and the load was clandestinely sold, piece by piece, in a matter of hours. The load was of pirated copies of Memoria de mis putas tristes, and its author responded furiously and inventively, altering the ending before the official version was published.

Separated at birth
A.J. Philip
Divided by Democracy
by Meghnad Desai and Aitzaz Ahsan. Roli Books. Pages 144. Rs 295.
THE India-Pakistan peace process has spewed a lot of cross-border brouhaha. This is the second volume under the Cross-border Talks series published simultaneously in India and Pakistan. The writers – Meghnad Desai and Aitzaz Ahsan – have impeccable credentials. Desai is an Emeritus Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and an active member of the British Labour Party.

A different Central Asia
South-Central Asia: Emerging Issues.
ed Dr Kuldip Singh. Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. Pages 295. Rs 350.
I review this book as a student of political science, for after the break-up of the mighty USSR in December 1991, there is a paucity of material on the region. Scholars and policy makers have made this area a focus of their study, as the region has a great potential for progress, economically as well as politically.

urdu review
Courage strikes back
Amar Nath Wadehra
Samandar Ab Khamosh Hai
by Kashmiri Lal Zakir Educational Publishing House, Delhi. Pages: 144. Rs 125.
Unpredictable are the ways of destiny. A wise person does not lay store by its benignancy, but relies on his own efforts to overcome perils in life. This is one of the messages that come through in this novel. K. L. Zakir has been writing for more than 50 years, during which, he has won many awards.

Beauty redefined
Shubhshil Desraj
Skin Deep
by Nergis Dalal. Penguin Books. Pages 301. Rs 250
Beauty may be skin deep, it may be overrated and superficial, yet all initial contact is visual, we are all affected by the physical appearance and accordingly base our opinions and prejudices. Who can be a better witness to this than Naaz, protagonist of Nergis Dalal’s latest novel, Skin Deep.

Nirmal Verma (1929 — 2005)
Ahead of his time
Pioneering Hindi novelist Nirmal Verma who changed the face and foundation of Hindi literature, was a truly global writer much before it was fashionable to be called one. Pratik Kanjilal pays a tribute to the eminent novelist who passed away recently
irmal Verma, perhaps the most acclaimed novelist in Hindi after Premchand, died last week at the age of 76. In his work, he dwelled often on loss, but rarely on death. His last novel, Antim Aranya (The Last Wilderness), is probably the modern master’s only deep exploration of the final event of a lifetime.

Short Takes
On reforms & revolutions
Randeep Wadehra

  • Reforming the United Nations
    by Nazrul Islam Viva Books, N. Delhi. Pages: xvii + 133. Price: Rs. 395.

  • Revolutions
    by M.S. Swaminathan & Daisaku Ikeda EastWest Books, Chennai. Pages: v + 138. Price: Rs. 300

  • Punjab Today
    by Mandeep Singh & Harvinder Kaur Deep & Deep, N. Delhi. Pages: xv + 292. Price: Rs. 480/-