Focus 2016: Of books & writers

Published Dec 27, 2015, 12:01 am IST
Updated Mar 26, 2019, 2:27 pm IST
The focus is turning to contemporary Indian artists, with installation art getting a boost in world markets.
Representational image
 Representational image

You will see a new side to Jhumpa Lahiri in her new love story In Other Words, out February. Instead of writing as usual about the immigrant experience in America, she talks of her love for all things Italian, of a writer’s journey seeking a new voice after she moved to  Rome in 2012 and has decided to write only in Italian.

Meanwhile, Siddhartha Mukherjee’s Genesis and Aravind Adiga’s Selection Day will also be keenly awaited. A new writer to watch out for may be Kanishk Tharoor, the Yale and Columbia-educated son of writer-politician Shashi Tharoor, whose Swimmer Among the Stars, a collection of stories, could invite comparisons.


Father Shashi, who drew a lot of attention at an Oxford Union debate in 2015 by seeking Raj reparations from Britain, examines the same theme in The Evils of Empire: The Truth About the British in India. Former Congress MP Priya Dutt’s biography of father Sunil Dutt will be of interest to both film and political watchers.

Political memoirs have really taken off — in 2016, look out for Jayanthi Natarajan’s A Life in Politics, Sheila Dikshit’s Delhi, Politics, Change and Destiny and Tarun Gogoi’s Turnaround. What happens behind the closed doors of the finance ministry? Cornell economist Kaushik Basu, who served as chief economic adviser under UPA- 2, offers insights in An Economist in the Real World: The Art of  Policymaking in India, out in February.

Journalist Tavleen Singh takes off from Nehru’s iconic 1947 “tryst with  destiny” speech to ask, in The Broken Tryst, what went wrong: whether “he  was just a romantic ... did he not know when he talked of the world asleep at midnight, that it was not midnight everywhere?” Across the border, journalist-columnist Mehr Tarar’s Many Malalas may offer a different perspective on Pakistan.


Mindy Kaling, Autobiography
Why Not Me: Born to a Tamil father and a Bengali mother, US TV star Mindy Kaling deals with her struggle to find “contentment and excitement” in her adult life and yeah, losing weight. And yes, there’s also meeting Bradley Cooper.


Aravind Adiga
Selection Day: Booker-Prize winner Aravind Adiga is back with a page-turner of a novel set in the world of cricket in Mumbai. Manju is fourteen. He knows he is good at cricket — if not as good as his elder brother Radha.


Angela Duckworth
Grit: The pioneering psychologist talks about how “focused persistence can beat talent”. The book promises to be insightful, engaging... and is likely brimming with “advice for managers, coaches, teachers, and parents.”

Ashok Srinivasan
Once Upon a Time: Brinda Murty is born and brought up in a traditional joint family in Bengaluru, though her life is anything but commonplace. She can recall things that happened before she was born and comes of age in a home where not just time, but history has gone haywire.


Namrata Joshi
Reel India: Bollywood And Small Town India Cinema captivates the Indian public, making them dream of faraway places lit up by neon lights.


Guy Kawasaki
The Art of the Start: Described by many as the book to read on start-ups, Kawasaki’s book is a “brutally accurate synopsis of the ins and outs of launching a start-up”. A good pick for those dreaming of starting up!

Aparna Jain
Own It: Own It tells women’s stories. The ugly, the happy, the rarely discussed, the whispered and the mostly the denied. Close to 200 Indian women leaders across industries discuss the challenges they face while captaining some of the biggest ships out there.


Marryam Reshi
The Flavour Of Spice: Journeys, Stories, Recipes - The food critic’s relentless love affair with spices and her infectious love for the ingredients adds so much punch to our cuisines


World is canvas for Indian art

The focus is turning to contemporary Indian artists, with installation art getting a boost in world markets

The path-breaking Progressive Artists Group of Bombay is still the best attraction for Indian art worldwide and the celebrated masters linked to it — Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, Tyeb Mehta, Maqbool Fida Husain, Syed Haider Raza, Francis Newton Souza — command the best prices at auctions across the world.

Gaitonde’s abstract paintings have been consistently getting the top prices and this month his untitled abstract sold for almost double its pre-sale estimate in Mumbai for $4,415,887 (Rs 29,30,25,000). Tyeb Mehta’s Untitled (Two Figures), sold for £1.18m (Rs 11,94,25,000). A rare self-portrait of Amrita Sher-Gil, India’s foremost woman painter and a pioneer of modernism, was sold in London for £1.7 million.

The focus is also turning to contemporary Indian artists, with installation art getting a boost in world markets. Cutting-edge contemporary stars like Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat and Bharti Kher are commanding unheard of prices in the world ma-rkets and these and the ne-xt generation artists are the ones to look out for.

Kolkata-born Rina Banerjee, Gurgaon-based Jagannath Panda, powerful work on gender stereotypes by Chitra Ganesh using mostly Amar Chitra Katha comic books, artist couple Anju and Atul Dodiya, Shilpa Gupta and Ravinder Reddy have dedicated collectors across the world. A breakthrough in the Indian art sales globally could be expected from one of these artists next year.