HT Picks; New Reads - Hindustan Times
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HT Picks; New Reads

ByHT Team
May 18, 2024 05:18 AM IST

This week’s pick of interesting reads includes a new Temple Hill murder mystery, a novel about how no single life is without consequence, and an essential introduction to Korean literature

Deadly serious business

On the reading list this week is the next edition of the Temple Hill murder mystery series, a novel about how individuals play a counterpoint to big movements in history, and a collection of Korean short fiction. (HT Team)
On the reading list this week is the next edition of the Temple Hill murder mystery series, a novel about how individuals play a counterpoint to big movements in history, and a collection of Korean short fiction. (HT Team)

288pp, ₹499; Bloomsbury (Novelist-sleuth Radhi Zaveri gets caught up in unraveling the mystery behind a murder at a prestigious matrimonial agency)
288pp, ₹499; Bloomsbury (Novelist-sleuth Radhi Zaveri gets caught up in unraveling the mystery behind a murder at a prestigious matrimonial agency)

A Matrimonial Murder takes us back to the bustling Temple Hill neighbourhood of Mumbai where fat-cat businessmen conduct high-powered deals while their pampered wives toil behind the scenes, leveraging gossip and innuendo.

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Sarla Seth, the owner of the most prestigious matrimonial bureau in town, has been receiving threatening messages. In her 30 years of matchmaking, she’s left behind a few unhappy clients and jealous competitors, though surely none of them would wish her actual harm? But when an employee is found murdered in the office, a shocked Sarla is forced to admit that things at her beloved Soul Harmony may not be that harmonious after all.

Award-winning novelist Radhi Zaveri is at Soul Harmony researching a book on arranged marriages when she stumbles upon the body of the murdered woman and gets caught up in the drama that unfolds. While the police begin their investigation, Radhi’s conversations with staff and clients give rise to worrying questions. As she hunts for answers, Radhi consults astrologers, goes on arranged dates and discovers that marriage on Temple Hill is deadly serious business.*

An ordinary life made exceptional

348pp, ₹799; Aleph (A novel about how individuals play a counterpoint to big movements and how no single life is without consequence)
348pp, ₹799; Aleph (A novel about how individuals play a counterpoint to big movements and how no single life is without consequence)

An absorbing, exceptionally moving novel that traces the arc of a man’s life, an ordinary life made exceptional by the fact that he has loved and has been loved in turn

Jadunath Kunwar’s beginnings are humble, even inauspicious. In 1935 in a village near George Orwell’s birthplace, Jadu’s mother, while pregnant with him, nearly dies from a cobra bite. When we see Jadu again, he is in college, meeting the Sherpa who first summited Everest and wondering what it means to be modern. As his life skates between the mythical and the mundane, and as changes big and small sweep across India, Jadu finds meaning in the most unexpected places. He befriends poets and politicians. He becomes a historian. And he has a daughter, Jugnu, a television journalist with a career in the United States — whose own story recasts the past in a new light. Piercing, fleet-footed, and undeniably resonant, here is a novel from a singularly gifted writer about how we tell stories and write history, how individuals play a counterpoint to big movements, how no single life is without consequence.*

100 years of a vibrant tradition

456pp, ₹550; Penguin (An essential introduction to Korean literature)
456pp, ₹550; Penguin (An essential introduction to Korean literature)

This eclectic, moving and wonderfully enjoyable collection is the essential introduction to Korean literature. Journeying through Korea’s dramatic twentieth century, from the Japanese occupation and colonial era to the devastating war between North and South and the rapid, disorienting urbanization of later decades, The Penguin Book of Korean Short Stories captures a hundred years of Korea’s vibrant short-story tradition.

Here are peddlers and donkeys travelling across moonlit fields; artists drinking and debating in the tea-houses of 1920s Seoul; soldiers fighting for survival; exiles from the war who can never go home again; and lonely men and women searching for connection in the dizzying modern city. The collection features stories by some of Korea’s greatest writers, including Pak Wanso, O Chonghui and Cho Chongnae, as well as many brilliant contemporary voices, such as P’yon Hyeyong, Han Yujoo and Kim Aeran. Curated by Bruce Fulton, this is a volume that will surprise, unsettle and delight.*

*All copy from book flap.

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