From fantasy to the darker side of reality, here are our top three book recommendations for this month.
Homesick For Another World
By Ottessa Moshfegh (Vintage, Rs 499)
After a critically acclaimed debut novel, Eileen (2015), which was named book of the year by two major American newspapers, Boston-based Ottessa Moshfegh’s latest collection of short stories Homesick for Another World was much awaited. Bizarre and breathtaking at the same time, the characters in the book will delight and disgust you with their all-too-relatable human failings and impulses. Some of the stories uplift you and others leave you wishing you could delete them from memory. But that’s the one thing Moshfegh has proved she is masterful at: her stories are unforgettable.
The Legend of Virinara
By Usha Alexander (Penguin Books India, Rs 299)
A fantasy novel set in India’s deep past, The Legend of Virinara follows the journey of a princess whose life goes from the royal palace to the forests, where she falls in love with her kingdom’s enemy. Usha Alexander’s third novel – like her second Only The Eyes Are Mine (2008) – uses India’s rich cultural history and regal past as the colourful backdrop of a woman’s coming of age. Questions of love, purpose and individuality find difficult answers in morality, loyalty and family. An interesting woman herself, Alexander’s new book is an engrossing page-turner.
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
By Imogen Hermes Gowar (Harvill Secker, Rs 599)
Set in late 18th century England, Imogen Hermes Gowar’s debut novel haunts you with its vivid imagery and gripping prose. Revolving around a melancholic widower, a talented prostitute and a dead mermaid, the fantasy novel has you hooked line and sinker from the word go. The historical details are noteworthy: 1780s’ London is carefully sketched out, from carriages clattering on cobbled streets to chamber pots emptied onto passers-by! While the plot does stretch one’s imagination at times, it’s all par for the course when you’re reading such a dreamy piece of literature.