An extraordinary soldier
Gen V.P. Malik (retd)
General S. M. Shrinagesh: Soldier, Scholar, Statesman
by Brig Satish K. Issar VSM (retd) Vision Books. Pages 360. Rs 595.
THIS book is an ably done mix of an autobiography and a biography. While the autobiography part describes the original, fairly voluminous, notes left by the late General and preserved by the family, the biography part is the author’s exhaustive and painstaking researched narration of events of General’s personal and professional life. The author’s major advantage is that he belongs to the late General’s regiment—Kumaon Regiment—and knows the family well.

Anand Mahadevan’s novel is inspired by 1987 train siege, writes Madhusree Chatterjee
Anand Mahadevan moved to the US from India when he was 17. But Tamil Nadu, where he grew up, stayed with him like a snapshot from childhood. Years later, the writer has managed to recapture some of it in his debut novel Strike. "The inspiration for Strike was, in fact, an actual strike that stopped the Tamil Nadu Express in Ennore station on Christmas Eve in 1987. I was nine years old that year, travelling with my parents and my brother in the train and even today, I can remember the smells of that stagnant train in that small station for hours," Mahadevan told IANS in an e-mail interview.

Books received: punjabi

Dreams we weave
Rachna Singh
The Indian Night: Sleep and Dreams in Indian Culture
Ed. Claudine Bautze-Picron. Rupa & Co. Pages 661. Rs 395.
DREAMS and their interpretation have a quality of mysticism that has enticed the interest of readers and students over the years. The dream analysis and associative symbolism of Freud and Jung was the start of the theorisation of dreams. However, the corpus of dream interpretation in the Indian context is not only small but also restricted to the academic field. A collection of as many as 22 papers on the symbolism associated with dreams in Indian culture, thus comes as manna from heaven for the ‘dream’-deprived readership.

Asian giants in focus
Parshotam Mehra
India and China: The Next Decade
Eds S. D. Muni and Suranjan Das. Rupa & Co in association with Observer Research Foundation. Pages viii+135. Rs 395.
THIS thin volume, the end-result of a joint seminar of the Observer Research Foundation and the university of Calcutta, was designed to look at the ‘constructive as well as conflictual’ dimensions of the India-China engagement. Among the participants were economists, strategic experts, senior diplomats as well as academics, journalists and policy makers presenting a ‘balanced and meaningful’ perspective on the two countries’ relationship with each other as well as the rest of the world.

On Vasco da Gama’s trail
Akshaya Kumar
For Pepper and Christ
by Keki N. Daruwalla. Penguin Books. Pages 354. Rs 399.
Voyages across continents provide ready stuff for a novelistic take off. Playing safe in his debut novel, Keki N. Daruwalla chooses to recount Vasco da Gama’s path-breaking expeditions to India in the 15th century through a topography that requires fastidiousness of a seasoned navigator and a map-maker. The novel extrapolates the reader to medieval time and space without effort.

How to get a book deal
Tim Clare writes about the secret of his success
F you want to be a footballer, or a heart surgeon, or an astronaut, there are clear prerequisites and cut-off points—before you proceed you must acquire such-and-such a qualification, if you haven’t achieved such-and-such by the age of 20 your chances of a career are zero. By stark contrast, becoming a professional author calls for a highly subjective skillset, recognises no age limit, and can even co-exist alongside other jobs.

Tyrant who ruled the Bront`EBs
Chris Green
N her famous 1857 biography of Charlotte Bront`EB, Elizabeth Gaskell described the author’s clergyman father Patrick as a "strange" and "half-mad" man who was "not naturally fond of children". Ever since, the unfortunate Reverend Bront`EB, whose children Anne, Emily and Charlotte penned some of the most enduring novels in English literature, has been regarded as a cold and unfeeling man who terrorised his family with his sudden bursts of temper.

A missed opportunity
Nina Lakhani
In The Kitchen
By Monica Ali. Doubleday. Pages 432. £ 10.79
Chefs have not fared well in recent fiction. In Irvine Welsh’s last-but-one novel, The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs, Alan De Fretais was about as appealing as the proverbial reheated souffl`E9. Marrow, by Tiffanie Darke, a former close friend of Gordon Ramsay, was about an arrogant, sex-obsessed (and entirely fictional) celebrity chef. So it is interesting to see how the bullying ignoramus of popular legend will appear, when given the light touch of Monica Ali.

Footprints of history
Randeep Wadehra

  • Haryana: The Torchbearer of 1857
    By Tejinder Singh Walia. Aggarwal Parkashan. Pages 250. Rs 990.

  • The Chandigarh: An Overview
    By S.P. Gupta. Ess Pee Publications. Pages 300. Rs 395.

  • Music for the eyes
    By Lovleen Baidwan Sohi. Unistar. Pages 152. Rs 200.