Marji is 10 at the time of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. She loves Michael Jackson and hates the veil and can't fathom why her friends from last year have to study separately now because they are boys. They said something about "decadence". She also knows that she's destined to become the first female Prophet of Islam.… Continue reading Persepolis, Iran
The book is as arresting and temerarious as its title. Zehlia is a pierced, mini-skirted and high-heeled rebel living in Istanbul. With unconscious misconceptions about a Muslim-majority country in the Middle East, I was surprised that Turkey is a secular, democratic republic. Its ethos is oddly similar to India. It's difficult for a religious, diverse country to strive to… Continue reading The Bastard of Istanbul, Turkey
It starts with a Private Eye: invalided from the army, down on his luck and a gorgeous woman with questionable morals slamming the door on his face. Then there's the smart and efficient good-looking blonde. Together, they solve murders. J.K. Rowling has a talent for using le mot juste. Her captivating writing style worked wonderfully in the magical… Continue reading Cormoran Strike
How long is "forever" in an impassioned adolescent declaration of love? What does "forever" mean at 70, when faced with the grim cognizance of one's mortality? Colombian Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez dares to suggest that a vow of "eternal fidelity and everlasting love" could be honoured in Love in the Time of Cholera. The scenes in the book are… Continue reading Love in the Time of Cholera, Colombia
Jhumpa Lahiri's Pulitzer Prize winning collection of short stories was a fascinating throwback to the time I lived in Calcutta. After having been in close contact with Bengali culture, I quite enjoyed the vignettes in the book. The food, the societal norms, the connection to Calcutta were all evocative of a different life, a half-remembered memory.… Continue reading Interpreter of Maladies, India
When I finished I am Malala, it felt good to read about Pakistan but there was something missing. I knew about Pakistan's political problems and Malala was an international figure. What about the Pakistanis who were like me? I wanted a book on the urban Pakistan and I found Kartography, the much celebrated book by Kamila Shamshie.… Continue reading Kartography, Pakistan
This week brought some more spectacular policies by the EU. They include closing off the Balkans Route that allowed Syrian refugees to enter countries like Germany, Austria and Sweden, instating further border controls restricting their flow into Europe, and striking a deal with Turkey where for every refugee sent back, they will settle one in Europe. Yes, the… Continue reading Refugees, Not Migrants!