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Book reviews

Read on for a review on two latest books namely For Honour and The Vicks Mango Tree.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2013 02:05 IST
Hindustan Times

Not so honourable after all...

Title: For Honour

Author: Bela Lal

Publisher: Niyogi Books

Price: Rs 250

Caste is an integral component of the Indian way of life. It plays a vital role even today in Indian politics. One can run away from it but cannot choose to ignore it. The despicable practice of honour killings is primarily predicated on caste. When two people from different castes choose to marry, families turn to violence to prevent this from happening. This is at the core of Bela Madan’s book. In her book, For Honour, which is set in the Angratta village— which borders on one of the upcoming areas in Gurgaon — Madan tries to capture this abhorrent practice. The book talks about how marriages are based on caste and status. The book revolves around the three main central characters who are Om Khimija, his daughter Poonam and Anant. Om Khimija has a very respectable status in the village and there is no denying to what he says. Anant works with Om Khimija and does impresses him with his work time and again. When two people from different castes start to fall in love with each other, it ought to create trouble because it is against the caste ‘law’ for them. The story takes you through the lives of different people and situations in the village to show how killings still sadly exist, and break hell.

Aishwarya Bamzai

Only for the patient reader

The Vicks Mango Tree
Author: Anees Salim
Publisher: HarperCollins
Price: Rs 399
There have been quite a few books on one of the most turbulent periods in India’s history — the national emergency that lasted from June 26, 1975 to March 21, 1977. First time novelist Anees Salim’s book, The Vicks Mango Tree, deals with the controversial topic in a subtle and character-heavy manner. First things first, you have to be patient with this tale, as the author takes his own sweet time building up the central players. Though the plot is based on the Emergency, its scale is restricted to a particular neighbourhood Mangobaag and the people who reside there. The hero of the novel is a young journalist Raj Iyer who writes against the Emergency. When the government cracks the whip against the media, Raj goes underground but is eventually caught and taken into custody for a torturous interrogation. What happens to Raj is there for the reader to find out, but after the Emergency, he gets immortalised in the form of a bronze statue, with a book being planned on his life as well. Then there is the story of Raj’s neighbour Teacher Bhatt, who secretly yearns to get his autobiography published. With so much of time taken for character build-up, this one can be an interesting read, but only for the patient reader.

Akshay Kapoor