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HT Picks: The most interesting books of the week

A murder hunt, a novel set in 1980s Punjab, and an anthology of dalit writing

books Updated: Sep 23, 2017 15:58 IST
HT Team
This week’s good reads
This week’s good reads(HT Team)

The Murder of Sonny Liston

On 5 January, 1971 former heavy weight champion Sonny Liston was found dead at his Las Vegas home. Liston’s death, labelled an overdose, has long hung over Las Vegas and the boxing world, leaving unanswered questions about his ties to mob kingpins, drug lords, billionaire hoteliers and powerful promoters.

Against the backdrop of a pivotal era in the history of Las Vegas in which the mob turned a sleepy desert oasis into a gambling paradise, The Murder of Sonny Liston is both a riveting murder hunt and a stunning portrait of a city that was home to the Rat Pack, race riots, and glittering high-rises along the strip. *

The Year of the Hawks

The early 1980s: A fiery preacher has outgrown his mentors and is raising an army of radicalized young men across Punjab. In Moranwale village, young Fareed is emerging from adolescence, uncertain about his future in an increasingly divided and violent society, where neither love nor hope can survive. In Delhi, Sikand, a journalist approaching middle age, struggles to keep a grip on his life even as news from the land of his childhood becomes alarming.

As terror spreads through Punjab, Fareed and Sikand find themselves in the Golden Temple in Amritsar, among armed men primed for a holy war. The two men are on opposite sides – one has joined the militants; the other will take no sides. But after the Indian Army storms the holiest shrine of the Sikhs, their fates are twinned, perhaps for a lifetime.

Kanwaljit Deol’s gripping debut novel is a work of rare power and sophistication, intensely human and deeply political.*

Don’t Want Caste

Why did the kanikonna blossom? It shouldn’t have, knowing that no one would pay it heed anyway.’

This anthology answers the question raised by a voice within it. Selected from seven decades of dalit writing in Malayalam and presented in new translations by Abhirami Girija Sriram and Ravi Shanker, these twenty three stories, farcical and magical, terse and baroque, domestic and picaresque, reveal that the disregarded laburnum in the forest has blazed with beauty all these years, and we should be the poorer for neglecting it. *

Watch more: A book on a Pahari master, another on life along the Radcliff Line that partitioned India in this week’s #Bookstack

*All text from book flaps