Living with nomads, idealists and mythics (IANS Books This Weekend)

Living with nomads, idealists and mythics (IANS Books This Weekend)

downloadHistoric revisiting seems to be the flavour of the season. Embark on a trip to the early 20th century Paris, the war times and the sense of idealism among the young men of that time. Also to read is a story of a man called Ove, who is certainly the grumpiest possible, but makes readers fall in love with his stern beliefs. Read a tale of Vama, who realises that he is the son of Lord Krishna and his struggle to save the world. Adding to this assorted fare is an account of a 44-day journey of an American writer with the Van Gujjars, vegetarian Muslims on their annual migration to the Himalayas. There’s much that the IANS bookshelf has to offer this weekend. Read on!

1. Book: Good Hope Road; Author: Sarita Mandanna; Publisher: Aleph; Pages: 386; Price: Rs.595

Set in the wartime of the early 20th century, we are introduced to the characters James Stonebridge, a New England Yankee, and Obadaiah Nelson , a Louisiana native and volunteer with the French Foreign Legion in Paris. These men are among the very few Americans who did so at the time, young men filled with idealism and notions of adventure. Despite their backgrounds, these men form an unexpected friendship that helps them endure the brutal reality of the trenches, and a bond that is tested to the extreme breaking point by the war.

From pre-war Paris to the trenches of Europe, this book is a powerful account of the conflict – and a search for redemption and strength. For history lovers, this book is a must as the author presents the pre-war and post-war scenarios in a stunningly lively way.

2. Book: A Man Called Ove; Author: Fredrik Backman; Publisher: Sceptre; Pages: 295; Price: Rs.399

This book, as the title says, is about a man called Ove, who is exceedingly hated even by his cat. He can perhaps be the grumpiest man ever. He often thinks himself surrounded by idiots – joggers, neighbours and those who can’t reverse a trailer properly.

But what is rare in Ove is his strong old-fashioned clarity in his beliefs – an unswerving conviction about what the world should be like, and a lifelong dedication to working for it.

But if you’re asking yourself where is the plot twist, well, it comes from within you, where you would find yourself irresistible to the grumpy Ove! Read on to know more about this man called Ove.

3. Book: Pradyumna; Author: Usha Narayanan; Publisher: Penguin; Pages: 336; Price: Rs.299

This engrossing tale takes readers on a mythological saga. It is the time when the world is trembling on the threshold of Kali Yuga, 432,000 years of unprecedented evil and waits for a saviour to rise.

Meanwhile, in the dark land of the Asuras, Vama trembles as he learns that he is actually Pradyumna, the son of Krishna, and that his journey has just begun. From the Asura kingdom to Dwaraka and then to Kurukshetra, he battles monsters, angry gods and weapons which are much stronger than all his strengths.

But will he be able to rise above his strengths, in time to save the world? Or is he just a destroyer prophesied by the wise yet mischievous Narada?

4. Book: Himalaya Bound: An American’s Journey with Nomads in North India; Author: Michael Benanav; Publisher: Harper Collins; Pages: 214; Price: Rs. 399

A vivid account of an American writer and freelance photographer who lived and traveled with the Van Gujjars, a forest-dwelling tribe of northern India. For 44 days, Benanav accompanied the tribe on their annual spring migration to the Himalayas.

As he documents the Gujjars’ life, Benanav is met with Indian realities – the Uttarakhand forest department threatens to block these families from moving ahead. These people, whose summer homes are within the Govind National Park of Uttarakhand, also rely on the pastures for their herds.

This is a lively tale of a life of a nomad, and the unimaginable difficulties it comes with. There is also a rare glimpse into the hidden world of a tribe of vegetarian Muslims, who risk their lives for their animals.

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