Before I plunge into what books wait in the wings in 2018, let me remind myself that 2018 is the centenary year of Muriel Sparks, the Scottish author known best for her iconic book, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. And Scotland and the world celebrate her with Muriel Spark 100. So here’s to re-reading Muriel Sparks in 2018.
2018 seems to be a year when quite a few heavyweights are coming up with memoirs, or biographies or autobiographies. India will face a general election to its Parliament in another year, and the run up to the election year has many books waiting in the wings in an endeavour to harness the power of words in a pre-campaigning fervour.
And there are a few highly anticipated fiction works as well.
The new year arrives with the literary kumbmela in Jaipur,and Dr. Shashi Tharoor is releasing his latest book ‘Why I Am A Hindu’ just ahead of it. And isn’t that the most intriguing of titles in contemporary times? “Starting with a close examination of his own belief in Hinduism, he ranges far and wide in his study of the faith”, says the Aleph Book Company who publishes the book.
Omar Abdulla debuts with My Kashmir, touted as one of the most important books on Kashmir and a mix of analysis, history and memoir. And there’s the other book on Kashmir, expected from Aleph Book Company, ‘Kashmir’, by Radha Kumar, an academic.
With elections in the air, Sheila Dikshit then comes in with ‘Citizen Delhi My Life My Times’, Salman Khurshid with ‘The Idea of India’, Kapil Sibal with “Shades of Truth”, Manish Tiwari with ‘My Ministerial Years’ and of course ‘Economics for Political Change: The Collected Works of Manmohan Singh’. And former CAG Vinod Rai’s ‘Holding to Account’ promises some excitement.
The first among the biographies awaited this year is the RSS supremo Mohan Bhagawat’s biography by Kingshuk Nag, which will sketch his life and rise to the head of the organisation. Sanjay Dutt’s biography by Yassir Usman, and Viswanathan Anand’s autobiography are also in the pipeline.
There’s then the biography with a difference: ‘Indira’. This is a graphic biography by Devapriya Roy and Priya Kuriyan. I also look forward to prominent Malayalam writer Paul Zacharia’s ‘The Malayalis, Portrait of A Community’.
Juggernaut brings out Saurav Ganguly’s memoirs under the title ‘A Century is Not Enough’. And outside of the country there’s the book on Michael Jackson by Margo Jefferson. And Amy Bloom’s White Houses; which is historical fiction on Eleanor Roosevelt and her intimate friendship with Lorena Hickok.
In fiction in the sub-continent, I look forward to Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Girl, Hansda Sowendra Sekhar’s The Death of Paharia, Anuradha Roy’s All the Lives We Never Lived, Sumana Roy’s Missing, Manu Bhattathiri’s The Town That Laughed, and Mohammed Hanif’s Red Birds. And although not strictly in the sub-continent, there’s Neel Mukherjee’s A State of Freedom, Sujata Massey’s The Widows of Malabar Hill, and of course the much-awaited Warlight from Michael Ondaatje.
Murakami’s Killing Commendatore, Stephen King’s The Outsider, Zadie Smith’s Feel Free, Ali Smith’s Winter, Tayari Jone’s An American Marriage, Marilynn Robinson’s What Are We Doing Here, Adrienne Celt’s An Invitation to a Bonfire, and Knausgaard’s new book are expected to be great reads of 2018.
Llosa’s new translation The Neighbourhood will reach the readers in 2018. So will a book by Jhumpa Lahiri in the role of translator: Trick, by Domenic Starnone. My favourite translator from Bengali, Arunava Sinha has ‘Electrifying Bengali Pulp Fiction’ in waiting this year.
I will wrap this up with a children’s book, and it’s a reissue: James Baldwin’s ‘Little man, little man’, a powerful and essential children’s book, his only one, in celebration of the self esteem of black children.
(Suneetha Balakrishnan is a bilingual translator, writer and journalist from Kerala. She can be reached at email@example.com )
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