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Digesting India

Digesting India

Digesting India by Zac O’Yeah. Speaking Tiger. Pages 394. Rs 599.

Book Title: Digesting India

Author: Zac O’Yeah

Thirty years’ worth experiences with the three things that Zac O’Yeah loves the most about life — eating, drinking and travelling — make for this delightful travel-cum-food book. ‘Digesting India’ is an entertaining and informative adventure explored by the Scandinavian-origin Indian novelist. Here we learn about dishes we may never have heard of, and food habits we never knew existed. He takes readers through the pleasures of drinking beer in Bengaluru, toddy in Kerala, and eating boiled vegetables and masala-less curries in Sevagram, Maharashtra, to prepare him for the rich red ‘lal maas’ in Rajasthan. He discovers Goa’s literati culture sipping cashew fenny, finds two of his favourite foods — mushrooms and cheese — in Bhutan and finds out what astronauts eat and drink in outer space.

Entering the Maze: Queer Fiction of Krishnagopal Mallick Translated from Bengali by Niladri R Chatterjee. Niyogi Books. Pages 176. Rs 350

Krishnagopal Mallick’s stories are essentially stories of Kolkata: of confusing, meandering lanes and by-lanes, of muddy roads, of crowded buses. And over it all is spread his homoerotic gaze and sensibility. His unselfconscious prose pulls readers into a life lived with honesty and joy. Rarely has Bengali literature witnessed such clear-eyed narratives of public and private violence, sexuality, and humour. These translations introduce to the readers a craftsman of deadpan story-telling who infuses North Kolkata with a queer radiance unmatched in Indian writing. Mallick has long languished in obscurity and this volume seeks to introduce and add him to the rapidly expanding canon of Indian queer writing. The translator, Niladri R Chatterjee, is Professor, Department of English, University of Kalyani.

The Treasure of the Khasi Hills by Hemendra Kumar Roy. Translated by Jashodhara Chakraborti. Speaking Tiger. Pages 176. Rs 299

Credited with creating the genres of horror, speculative fiction and adventure for children in modern Bengali fiction, author Hemendra Kumar Roy’s books have enthralled generations of young readers for nearly a century now. Originally titled ‘Jawkher Dhon’, ‘The Treasure of the Khasi Hills’ features adventure duo Bimal and Kumar. In a trunk containing his late grandfather’s possessions, Kumar finds a human skull. On looking carefully, he discovers that there are tiny carvings on it — a code to a treasure! With Bimal, he deciphers the code and the two set off to find the treasure that is hidden in the beautiful Khasi hills. With a villain waiting to waylay them in every corner, deep dark caves with wild animals, ghosts, and yaksha guarding the treasure, can Bimal and Kumar elude all of them and succeed?