Timothy Snyder (Penguin Random House UK, Rs 499)
This book is a warning: if we believe what our politicians want us to believe, we’re going to go pretty much the way the world went in the 20th century, when humankind saw its worst wars ever.
With anecdotes and lessons from history and philosophy, American academic Snyder shows how today’s world leaders – from Donald Trump in the US to ‘authoritarian’ regimes in India – are pulling a fast one on the common people, who will end up trading liberty for fictional ‘greatness’ if they aren’t careful. Brr.
Maidless in Mumbai
Payal Kapadia (Bloomsbury, Rs 299)
Written by a former journalist, this is the diary of a Mumbai mom who wants only one thing: a perfect maid. But, of course, that is the stuff of fairy tales. Kapadia’s humorous book comes in a context when a housing complex in Noida saw an ‘uprising’ by a community of domestic helpers for alleged abuse, and a rise in crime by hired help.
For sure, India is on the cusp of social change, and this class of people will soon cease to exist, at least on the old terms. The book’s protagonist may yet have more agony in store.
A Horse Walks Into a Bar
David Grossman (Penguin Random House, Rs 499)
Grossman’s latest novel – ably translated by Jessica Cohen – is about a standup comedian, but don’t expect to roll about in laughter. The book immerses you in modern Israeli society, drags you through a child’s experience of loss in a land where even children are groomed to fight, and leaves you emotionally bereft at the vacuum in urban lives.
To ease your pain, there are a few good Jew jokes thrown in. This is masterful story-telling by a writer with deep insight into human psychology.
Lead photo: Pixabay. First published in the August 2017 issue of eShe magazine