Back of the book
Climbers, clues and chronicles

Stageplay: The Journey of An Actor
By Sushma Seth.
Amaryllis. Rs 350.

THE book chronicles the fascinating journey of theatre actor Sushma Seth -- from her childhood and early influences to her first movie, Junoon, and her character of dadi in the television family drama Humlog. Sushma's passion for theatre did not take a backseat even when she was scripting small but memorable characters in movies like Kalyug, Silsila, Prem Rog, Chandni and 1942: A Love Story.

In 1972, she founded the Children's Creative Theatre that staged several successful productions. The book, besides delving into the art of stage plays, also explores Sushma's service to society through a non-profit organisation, Arpana, which has resettled thousands of slum children.

No Way Down
By Graham Bowley.
Penguin. Rs 499.

On August 1, 2008 at the summit of K2, an exhausted band of climbers pump their fists into the clear blue sky - joining the elite who have conquered the world’s most lethal mountain. But as they celebrate, far below them an ice shelf collapses and sweeps away their ropes. They don’t know it yet, but they will be forced to descend into the blackness with no lines.

Of the 30 who set out, 11 will never make it back. Following the stories of climbers from around the world, the book weaves a tale of human courage, folly, survival, and devastating loss. It tries to answer what drove them to try to conquer this elusive peak and what went wrong that fateful day.

Bottom of the Heap
By Reeti Gadekar.
HarperCollins-India. Rs 250.

Additional commissioner Nikhil Juneja is back — but this time with a personal demon. He is fighting mid-life blues, a father with whom he does not get along, a girlfriend who does not seem worth the sweat all the time and the death of a beloved grandmother.

In the midst of the turbulence, he is transferred to a village to solve the mystery of a road scam and on a ride to self-discovery.

The Golden Gandhi Statue from America
By Subimal Misra.
Harper-Perennial. Rs 199.

Translated by V. Ramaswamy, the book is an anthology of Bengali short stories that took the literary world of Bengal by storm in the 1960s. The stories, sometime satirical, at times morbid and often surreal, are set in the energetic milieu of Kolkata. The stories reflect the troubled and fatalistic sense of disquiet that kept Kolkata sleepless for most of the decades in the run-up to the lulling eighties under the Communists, with the middle class under the writer's spotlight. Every story is like a slap, hard-hitting and so near home.

Invisible Forgotten Sufferers: The Plight of Widows Around The World
By Vijay Dutt.
Konark Publishing House. Rs 600.

Commissioned by the Raj Loomba Foundation, the book paints a grim picture of the suffering of the widows worldwide. It was presented recently by the foundation to Indian President Pratibha Patil, who agreed that widows were suffering worldwide and advised them to empower widows in India.

The book, based on a report compiled on widows, is factual. India alone accounts for 42.4 million widows of the total 245 million figure worldwide.

Yaraana: Gay Writings from South Asia
Edited by Hoshang Merchant.
Penguin. Rs 350.

From Ashok Row Kavi's autobiographical piece on growing up gay in Mumbai to Vikram Seth's brilliantly etched account of a gay relationship in The Golden Gate, the stories, poems, plays and prose extracts in this collection cover a range of literary styles, themes and sensibilities.

Apart from the contributions in English, the anthology features works translated from Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and other Indian languages that speak of the agony and joy of a man being in love with other men. — IANS