HT reviewers pick their best reads of 2021

Updated on Dec 17, 2021 03:46 PM IST

HT reviewers have been reading everything from ecopoetry to fantasy, Urdu travelogues, fiction on the lingering shadow of the Bosnian war, and tributes to DH Lawrence. This collective reading list is both eclectic and inspiring. Click on the link under each picture to learn about that reviewer’s favourite read of the year

Any place is a great place to read: A woman in her shop in New Delhi. (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
Any place is a great place to read: A woman in her shop in New Delhi. (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
ByHT Team

NAWAID ANJUM

Reviewer’s pick: Tenderness by Alison MacLeod
Reviewer’s pick: Tenderness by Alison MacLeod

A dialogue across time with Lady Chatterley: Canadian-British author Alison MacLeod’s book fuses fact and fiction in a joyous celebration of DH Lawrence’s most controversial novel

SYED SAAD AHMED

Reviewer’s picks: Ibn-e-Insha’s Duniya Gol Hai (The World is Round) and Pranay Lal’s Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent .
Reviewer’s picks: Ibn-e-Insha’s Duniya Gol Hai (The World is Round) and Pranay Lal’s Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent .

Blips in Time: Obsessively reading travelogues and books on natural history as a consequence of being homebound

SIMAR BHASIN

Reviewer’s pick: Asylum Road by Olivia Sudjic
Reviewer’s pick: Asylum Road by Olivia Sudjic

Where the future became an ending: an exposition of a world order that posits itself as a liberal force while sticking to hierarchies

PERCY BHARUCHA

Reviewer’s pick: Carvalho by KP Purnachandra Tejasw, translated by DA Shankar
Reviewer’s pick: Carvalho by KP Purnachandra Tejasw, translated by DA Shankar

Weaving between satire and surrealism: A novel that evokes a childish sense of joy in exploring the uncertain

MAHMOOD FAROOQUI

Reviewer’s pick: Peechhe Phirat Kahat Kabir Kabir by Mujib Rizvi
Reviewer’s pick: Peechhe Phirat Kahat Kabir Kabir by Mujib Rizvi

The give and take that created Indo-Muslim culture: How the verses of Rumi and Sadi found a new avatar as dohas in India’s Persianate Age

LAMAT R HASAN

Reviewer’s pick: Chandni Begum and Ship of Sorrows by Qurratulain Hyder, translated by Saleem Kidwai
Reviewer’s pick: Chandni Begum and Ship of Sorrows by Qurratulain Hyder, translated by Saleem Kidwai

Found in translation: Saleem Kidwai’s translations of Qurratulain Hyder’s novels bring out the author’s command over the Urdu idiom

SUHIT KELKAR

Reviewer’s pick: Tiger Girl by Pascale Petit
Reviewer’s pick: Tiger Girl by Pascale Petit

Running through every coppice: Pascale Petit’s ecopoetry opens up the reader to remorse, compassion, hope, and perhaps Nature within us

RONNIE KX

Reviewer’s pick: The Goblin Emperor by Kathleen Addison
Reviewer’s pick: The Goblin Emperor by Kathleen Addison

The comfort of worlds unfamiliar: Dragons, mermaids, goblins and gods and reflections on class and desire in 1780s London

CHINTAN GIRISH MODI

Reviewer’s pick: The House Next to the Factory by Sonal Kohli
Reviewer’s pick: The House Next to the Factory by Sonal Kohli

Doing their best to survive; Sonal Kohli’s short stories are snapshots of lives that are made and unmade by marriage, war, miscarriage, widowhood, genocide, disability, and economic misfortunes

SONALI MUJUMDAR

Reviewer’s pick: Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
Reviewer’s pick: Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

Rediscovering an old gem: A short epistolary novel written in 1912 features the coming-of-age tale of an orphan. The author Jean Webster, who also happened to be Mark Twain’s niece, wrote more than half a dozen novels before she died at 40

THANGKHANLAL NGAIHTE

Reviewer’s pick: In the Name of the Nation by Sanjib Baruah
Reviewer’s pick: In the Name of the Nation by Sanjib Baruah

On the dreaded past and the precarious present: Fascism, democracy, India’s relationship with its northeastern states, and local memoirs

KUNAL RAY

Reviewer’s pick: A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes by Rodrigo Garcia
Reviewer’s pick: A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes by Rodrigo Garcia

Living, writing, death and loss: A son watches his father slip away while the world grieves the loss of a favourite writer

HUZAN TATA

Reviewer’s picks: The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Ira Mukhoty’s Song Of Draupadi
Reviewer’s picks: The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Ira Mukhoty’s Song Of Draupadi

Historical women in the spotlight: The last queen of the Sikh empire and a feminist take on an Indian epic

FARZANA VERSEY

Reviewer’s picks: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun
Reviewer’s picks: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun

About words, said and unsaid: Of storytelling that takes the reader to the heart of characters, to their acceptance or denial of identity, and to their exploitation and predation.

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