BROWSE THROUGH : What the books are about

Paperbacks for Sunday

1.Indian Balm by Paul Hyland, paperback, published by Vivas books, pp 320, Rs 550

2.The Sea by John Banville, paperback, published by Picador, pp 200, Rs 595

3.Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis, paperback, published by Picador, pp 362, Rs 525

4.Rough Music: Blair, Bombs, Baghdad, London, Terror by Tariq Ali, paperback, published by Picador, pp 104, Rs 650

5.The Sari Shop: A Novel by Rupa Bajwa, paperback, published by Penguin books, pp 224, Rs 500

Indian Balm

From an award-winning author whose books have all become modern classics, Indian Balm is written beautifully — witty, poetic, informed, full of colour and insight. It is a fascinating journey through past and present India, explaining a region far off the beaten track. Indian Balm is the captivating account of a journey Paul Hyland made along the little-known course

of the sacred Godavari river in southern India:

a pilgrimage through both his past and India’s present. It is the story of the search for his ancestors, missionaries and traders, who settled in the region generations ago and of their Balm — a wonder cure for all sorts of ailments and afflictions. It is also a fascinating and enlightening journey through India today. Wading through the country’s contradictions and irritations, its ugliness and its beauty, Hyland encounters both the exotic and the commonplace. He meets snake charmers and sadhus, bogi men and horn dancers, witnesses ancient rituals and observes the most simple aspects of daily life. Indian Balm is an

extraordinary and, above all, unique journey — vivid, intimate and revealing — travel writing at its colourful best.

The Sea

This title is the winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize. When art historian Max Morden returns to the seaside village where he once spent a childhood holiday, he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma. The Grace family had appeared there, in that long-ago summer, as if from another world. Mr and Mrs Grace, with their worldly ease and candour, were unlike any adults he had met before. But it was his contemporaries, the Grace twins, Myles and Chloe, who most fascinated Max. He grew to know them intricately, even intimately, and what ensued would haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that was to follow. Praise for The Sea: ‘With his fastidious wit and exquisite style, John Banville is the heir to Nabokov. The Sea (is) his best novel so far... Banville’s prose is sublime. — Daily Telegraph

Lunar Park

Imagine becoming a bestselling novelist while still in college, and almost immediately famous and wealthy, then seeing your insufferable father reduced to a bag of ashes in a safety-deposit box, even as your celebrity drowns in a sea of vilification, booze and drugs. Imagine being given a second chance, as the Bret Easton Ellis of this remarkable novel is given. Lunar Park confounds one expectation after another, passing through comedy and mounting psychological and supernatural horror toward an astonishing resolution — about love

and loss, fathers and sons — in what is surely the most original and moving novel of an

extraordinary career. Lunar Park is great enough to suggest that his best work may now be ahead rather than behind him; it’s a very interesting ride with an always interesting novelist — The Times. Emotionally powerful, Lunar Park is an unnerving and funny puzzle of a book: undoubtedly the real thing, as it were — Guardian.

The Sari Shop

Young Ramchand rushes through the dusty streets of Amritsar, once again late for work. Chastised by his boss, he takes his place among the cottons and silks of the sari shop, selling yards of cloth to the wealthy and fashionable women of the town. Offered a glimpse of a more opulent world, Ramchand is seduced by the idea that he might somehow better himself. But making dreams real will come at a price that a poor shop assistant might not be able to pay.

Rough Music...

On July 7, the murderous mayhem that Blair’s war has sown in Iraq came home to London in a devastating series of suicide bombings. Two weeks later, with apparent impunity, security forces shot dead a young Brazilian electrician on his way to work. Rough Music is Tariq Ali’s white-hot response to these events. He lays bare the vengeful platitudes of Blair’s war on civil liberties, mounts a scorching attack on the cosy falsehoods of the government’s ‘consensus’ on what the threat amounts to and how to respond, and denounces the corruption of the political-media bubble which allows it to go unchallenged. Finally, invoking the perseverance and integrity of the great dissenters of the past, he calls for political resistance, within parliament and without.