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Three's company

books Updated: Mar 18, 2011 23:20 IST

Hindustan Times
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Past tense
In Rangbhoomi, first published in 1925, Munshi Premchand tells the story of the blind beggar Soordas's fight to save his ancestral land. The themes of class, caste and industrialisation remain relevant, which explains Manju Jain's translation in Playground. Jain literally translates some of the proverbs and metaphors and uses Hindi and Urdu words to retain some of the original flavour.

A divine comedy
Nope. This isn't one of those books that try and convince you about the existence of God by singing glories to our maker. Robert Wright, a philosopher-psychologist and author of The Moral Animal, that brilliant book on evolutionary psychology, knows that humans have been making god(s) in their own image. So inventing and modifying religions are part of our way of dealing with a changing world. Wright tells us this story of Man through the story of our godmaking.

Ms Wilhelmsen's feeling for snow
This masterful 2007 novel (translated for the first time from Norwegian) starts with a train accident in sub-zero temperature. This, however, isn't an airport thriller, but a nuanced work that tastes of a philosophical puzzle. The protagonist is the wheel-chair bound retired Inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen, herself a survivor in the wrecked train, who is called into investigate the murders of fellow survivors who have sought shelter in a nearby castle. Anne Holt is a far more sophisticated writer than Stieg Larsson. This is a must-read for crime, literary... any great fiction fans.