1. Turin Shroud by Lynn Picknett, Published by Time Warner books, price Rs 595
2. Be Near Me by Andrew O’Hagan, published by Faber and Faber, pp 256, Rs 795
3. K by Roberto Calasso, published by Vintage, pp 336, Rs 950
4. Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk, published by Faber and Faber, pp 256, Rs 795
5. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, published by Bloomsbury, pp 352, Rs 795
What the books are about
In 1988, carbon dating of the world’s most famous Christian relic revealed that it was a mediaeval or Renaissance forgery. Yet many questions remained. How could a hoaxer of 500 or more years ago have created an image that appears so astonishingly lifelike when seen in photographic negative? How was such an image formed? And who would have dared fake the Holy Shroud of Jesus? Setting out to answer these questions, Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince discovered that the faker was none other than Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance artist, scientist, inventor — and hoaxer — whose innovations are acknowledged to have been centuries ahead of his time. They also reconstructed Leonardo’s secret technique — becoming the first ever to recreate the Shroud image. Now revised and updated, sensationally the new 2006 edition of Turin Shroud presents the long-lost hard evidence to link the Shroud of Turin directly with da Vinci. Perhaps this is even his ‘confession’ to having faked Christianity’s most sacred relic, which will astonish both believers and sceptics alike, and present a new challenge to historians of both art and photography.
Be Near Me:
When an English priest takes over a small Scottish parish, not everyone is ready to accept him. He makes friends with two local youths, Mark and Lisa, and clashes with a world he can barely understand. The town seems to grow darker each night. Fate comes calling and before the summer is out, his quiet life is the focus of public hysteria. Father David looks back to find a Lancashire childhood. He remembers a lost father and a grand school for Catholic boys. He finds 1960s Oxford in the heat of student revolt and recalls a choice he once made in the orange groves of Rome. Be Near Me is a story of art and politics, love and change, and about the way we live now. Trapped in class hatreds, threatened by personal flaws, Father David begins to discover what happened to the ideals of his generation. Meanwhile a religious war is unfolding on his doorstep...
What are Kafka’s stories about? Are they dreams? Allegories? Symbols? Things that happen every day? But where and when? Countless answers have been offered, but the question still arouses feelings of acute uncertainty. Many solutions have been proposed, but the essential mystery remains intact. In this remarkable book, Roberto Calasso sets out not to dispel the mystery, but to let it be illuminated by its own light. To that end, with his unique vision, imagination, and intellectual acumen, Calasso attempts to enter the flow, the tortuous movement, the physiology of the stories to discover what they are meant to signify and to delve into the most basic question along the way: who is K? The culmination of the author’s lifelong fascination with Kafka, K is a book of significant literary importance, the fourth part in a work in progress.
Amid the leafy avenues and comfortable houses, the residents of Arlington Park live out the dubious accomplishments of civilisation: material prosperity, personal freedom, and moral indifference. Men work, women look after children, and people do what’s expected of them. Set over the course of a single rainy day, this novel moves from one household to another, and through the hours conducts a deep examination of its characters’ lives; of Juliet, enranged at the victory of men over women in family life; of Amanda, warding off thoughts of death with obsessive housework; of Solly, who confronts her own buried femininity in the person of her Italian lodger; of Maisie, despairing at the inevitability with which beauty is
destroyed; and of Christine, whose troubled, hilarious spirit presides over Arlington Park and the way of life it represents.
Eat, Pray, Love:
It’s 3:00 am and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties. She has a husband, a house, they’re trying for a baby — and she doesn’t want any of it. Miserable and desperate, she does something she has never done before: pray. “Hello God. How are you? I’m Liz. Please tell me what to do.” And then a voice responds. “Go back to bed, Liz.” Three years later a bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair have left her battered and bewildered, but with a freedom she’s never had before. So Liz begins a year-long journey to find happiness and balance in her life. Four months in Rome... then to an ashram in India and in Bali, where a toothless medicine man offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile.
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