The publisher of Farahad Zama’s debut novel The Marriage Bureau for Rich People claim that the book is what Jane Austen would have written in contemporary times. Those are tough shoes to fill. But the story has great potential to be a humourous morality tale. Set in Visakhapatnam, it’s about Mr Ali, a bored retired man who sets up a marriage bureau for wealthy clients. It flourishes in the small coastal town. Meanwhile, the plot thickens when his assistant Aruna reveals her love life. The book has a big cast of other characters.
The Marriage Bureau for Rich People
By Farahad Zama,
Hachette India, 288 pages,
Class of India
Writer Palash Krishna Mehrotra, who teaches at the Doon School, has put together a collection of writings—from poetry to simple reminiscences—about being in school in India. From Dayananda Saraswati and Satyajit Ray to Vikram Seth, the writings of some of the finest minds educated in schools across India are included in Recess: The Penguin Book of Schooldays. Satyajit Ray recalls playing something called “Musical drawing”, while writer Ved Mehta writes about learning Braille first.
Recess: The Penguin Book of Schooldays
Edited by Palash Krishna Mehrotra,
Penguin India, 376 pages,
All the myths, histories, rituals and beauty of Kerala’s famous Guruvayur temple of Lord Krishna are ensconsed in this tome on the institution. In 17 chapters, dedicated to the priests, the devotees, the elephants and their activities, English writer Pepita Seth, who now in Thrissur, documents all one needs to know about the temple. Seven years of research and photographic documentation has gone into the book.
Heaven on Earth: The Universe of Kerala’s Guruvayur Temple
By Pepita Seth,
295 pages, Rs2995.
Set in the countryside of Lahore, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders is a collection of interconnected stories about a family of landlords and their relationship with relatives who have moved to the city, and retainers who live in the countryside alongside them. At the heart of the story is an ageing patriarch, but on a sweeping level, the book is about Pakistan’s class and culture wars. The book is structurally similar to James Joyce’s Dubliners and is an anticipated book of 2009 in the sub-continent. Mueenuddin was a lawyer practising in New York City before he moved to Pakistan where he now manages a farm.
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
By Daniyal Mueenuddin,
Random House India, 248 pages,
What makes Mozart different from Sir Elton John and what does Mozart have in common with Mick Jagger? Historian Tim Blanning tries to answer some such questions in The Triumph of Music about the history of music in the modern world. Blanning traces the discoveries of and developments in musical infrastructure, from sophisticated opera houses to digital technology, that have helped spread the influence of music in our lives and the making of celebrities in the field of music.
The Triumph of Music
By Tim Blanning,
Allen Lane, 384 pages,