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DSC Prize 2017: Here’s a peek into the five books that made the shortlist

In case you haven’t got round to reading or finishing the entire DSC Prize shortlist or are wondering who you’d like to root for, here’s a peek into the opening lines of these excellent books.

books Updated: Nov 17, 2017 12:47 IST
HT Correspondent
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature focuses on writing about South Asia, and carries the prize money of $25,000 (over Rs 16 lakh).
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature focuses on writing about South Asia, and carries the prize money of $25,000 (over Rs 16 lakh).

The winner of the 2017 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature will be announced on November 18 at the ongoing Dhaka Literature Festival in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The international literary award, which focuses on writing about South Asia, carries the prize money of $25,000 (over Rs 16 lakh).

In case you haven’t got round to reading or finishing the entire shortlist or are wondering who you’d like to root for, here’s a peek into the opening lines of these excellent books:

The Living by Anjali Joseph (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, UK)

This morning I couln’t open my eyes. It was light, mind you. Sunrise is that early now. But I wasn’t waking up. The alarm went at a quarter to six so I could have tea, roll a fag, look at the sky, put on the radio quiet, take a shower. I left cereal on the table for Jason, and some fruit. It’s be there when I got home. Getting back at five... It’s hard to imagine, like a place at the end of a walk, across the fields, a river, a bridge, a forest, hills, and a motorway. It’s a long way from the morning till the end of the day, a long long stretch.

Read HT’s interview with Anjali Joseph here.

The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam (Granta Books, UK)

Most children have two whole legs and two whole arms but this little six-year-old that Dinesh was carrying had already lost one leg, the right one from the lower thigh down, and was now about to lose his right arm. Shrapnel had dissolved his hand and forearm into a soft, formless mass, spilling to the ground from some parts, congealing in others, and charred everywhere else. Three of the fingers had been fully detached, where they were now it was impossible to tell, and the two remaining still, the index finger and thumb, were dangling from the hand by very slender threads. They swayed uncertainly in the air, tapping each other quietly, till arriving at last in the operating area Dinesh knelt to the ground, and laid the boy out carefully on an empty tarpaulin. His chest, it seemed, was hardly moving. His eyes were closed, and his face was calm, unknowing. That he was not in the best of conditions there could be no doubt, but all that mattered for the time being was that the boy was safe. Soon the doctor would arrive and the operation would be done, and in no time at all the arm would be as nicely healed as the already amputated thigh.

Read a longer excerpt here.

Selection Day by Aravind Adiga (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, India)

I, too, have a secret.

Pebbles and pen tops; the gold tinfoil wrappers of chocolates; battered coins and the elather handles of cricket bats; cracked green buttons and two-inch needles full of rust: I understand them all.

Pen tops, you are really lemons. Pebbles are sweeter. Rusty needles are vinegary. The floors of rooms are buttery. Good paper is milky and cheap paper becomes bitter. Orange rinds are tastier than oranges. Only one thing in the world is tasteless.

Plastic!

Read our review of Selection Day here.

The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan (Chatto & Windus, UK & Viking, USA & Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, India)

The bombing , for which Mr and Mrs Khurana were not present, was a flat, percussive event that began under the bonnet of a parked white Maruti 800, though of course that detail, that detail about the car, could only be confirmed later. A good bombing begins everywhere at once.

Read our review of the book here.

In the Jungles of the Night by Stephen Alter (Aleph, India)

Here in the clouds, Jim could feel an unsettling sense of communion. Monsoon mist spilled through the branches of deodar and cypress trees. No mountains were visible, only a cowl of murky white, obscuring the ridgelines, the lake and the tops of the taller trees. Jim’s hair was wet from the veil of moisture. The rain had stopped but his rough cotton shirt felt damp and droplets of water clung to the blonde hairs on his arms.

Read our interview with Stephen Alter here.

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