OFf the shelf
Repulsion juxtaposed with admiration
V. N. Datta
Pious flames: European Encounters with Sati
by Andrea Major. Oxford University Press, New Delhi. Pages 258. Rs 625.
THIS scholarly study of Sati, the Hindu practice of burning widows, is a revised version of the doctoral and post-doctoral research conducted at Edinburgh University between 1999 and 2004. It does not deal with the origin, extent and abolition of Sati. It offers a different perspective from books published since Edward Thompsonís first monograph on Sati brought out in 1929.



Poetry powered by realism
Ayyappa Paniker is rightfully called the architect of modern Malayalam poetry. The Saraswati Samman is a recognition of his contribution to literature, writes M.S. Unnikrishanan
wards are nothing new for Kavalam Ayyappa Paniker. Padma Shri, the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award, Kerala Sahitya Academy Award, Kabeer Samman, Asan Prize, Vyalar Award and Vallathol Award are but a few of the innumerable awards collected by the Malayalam poet laureate.

Roaring tiger, rampaging dragon
Himmat Singh Gill
Europe And Asia
Eds. V. P. Malik and Erhard Crome. Lancer, New Delhi. Pages 179. Rs 595.
BY 2020 or so, most strategic and economic experts are of one view, the United States, China and India would occupy the first three slots in economic well being and prosperity. Leaving aside the US, which will continue to rank as the number 1 superpower, the other two countries lie in Asia.

Literary journalism at its best
A.J. Philip
OW did I get my first introduction to writers like Jean Paul Sartre, Gunter Grass, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Pablo Neruda and Yasunari Kawabata? I read about them in a weekly column that appeared without fail in Malayalanadu in the early 1970s. Entitled Sahityavarabhalam (Weekly Literary Forecast), it was penned by Prof M. Krishnan Nair.

East-West encounter
Ash Narain Roy
Mullah Omar and Robespierre: Essays in the Politics of Ideas
by Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr, Rupa. Pages 162. Rs 395.
AN ancient Greek sage once said, "When you step into a river, you change the river and the river changes you." The intellectual encounters between the East and the West during the colonial period and afterwards produced a similar result. India benefited from such ideational encounter, so did great European and North American writers and thinkers.

Has no ground
Deepika Gurdev
The Tent
by Margaret Atwood. Bloomsbury. Pages 155. $18.
IíVE been a huge fan of Margaret Atwood since I received my first collection of Atwood books from a family I had stayed with in Canada during my university days. As I read page after page of The Handmaidís Tale, I was in awe of her literary prowess. When she won the Booker after three tumbles, I celebrated.

Fiction meets history
Jyoti Singh
Nur Jahanís Daughter
by Tanushree Podder Rupa. Pages 362. Rs 295.
Unlike history that records facts dryly, as historians perceive them, Nur Jahanís Daughter is a peep into pages from the past with enough room for emotions. Shifting the spotlight from powerful monarchs to a sensitive and vulnerable child, the author claims to unveil the life of Laadli, Nur Jahan nee Mehrunnisaís daughter, by her first husband Ali Quli alias Sher Afghan.

Gold in the mud
Shalini Rawat
Ardhakathanaka: Half-a-tale
Translated, introduced and annotated by Mukund Lath. Rupa. Pages 293. Rs 995.
HOW do you ensure yourself a place in literary history? You write and hardsell a great book, see it climb the charts, sit back and count the bucks and assure yourself that no researcher worth his salt can skip you, since you are now part of The Canon. Kalidasa to Khushwant Singhóall have probably been there and done that.

Back of the book

  • The Take
    by Martina Cole Headline. Pages 505. £ 6.00.

  • Tenacious
    by Julian Stockwin, Hodder and Stoughton Pages 346. £ 6.90.

  • Brand New Friend
    by Mike Gayle Hodder and Stoughton Pages 344. £ 6.90.