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June 02, 2005

Hot! These books are out in the market now. Have you checked them out?

Forest Of The Pygmies
by Isabel Allende (translated by Margaret Sayers Peden); Harper Collins

Forest Of The PygmiesThis is the final installment of the adventure trilogy that began with City Of The Beasts and continued with Kingdom Of The Golden Dragon.

Eighteen-year old Alexander Cold and his friend Nadia Santos travel to Africa on a new international geographic expedition with Alexander's tough grandma Kate.

When they agree to aid a Catholic missionary, they find themselves facing off against a savage tyrant and must now turn to their totemic animal spirits, Jaguar and Eagle, for help. The versatile Chilean author brings her vivid descriptive style to this genre.

Bollywood: Popular Indian Cinema Through a Transnational Lens
edited by Raminder Kaur and Ajay J Sinha; Sage Publications

This is a sometimes over-didactic, but generally compelling, collection of essays about the relationship between popular Indian cinema and shifting global dynamics over the decades.

Highlights include: Not Quite (Pearl) White: Fearless Nadia, Queen of the Stunts, which contrasts the screen persona of the feisty action star Nadia with that of the aristocratic, cosmopolitan Devika Rani.

And The Consumable Hero of Globalised India, about the changes in the Bollywood leading man in the post-liberalisation era. (To the extent that liberalisation is a relatively recent phenomenon, having been set in place only in 1991, the consumable hero has no history. His class acquired jobs with perks, high disposable incomes, a jet-setting lifestyle and shopping holidays overseas only from the mid-1990s or so).

Most of the essays constitute thoughtful, intelligent writing about topics that there still isn't enough literature on. Contributors include Rosie Thomas, Gayatri Chatterjee and Shuddhabrata Sengupta.

The Year Before Sunset

The Year Before Sunset: A Novel
by Hugh & Colleen Gantzer; Penguin Books India

Set in 1946, in the British Empire's last year in India, this story is told through the eyes of 16-year old Phillip Brandon. He spends his winter vacations in the sleepy town of Lakhbagan, and confronts his doubts and fears about his future in the soon-to-be independent India.

Phillip's life, marked by boisterous parties, furtive dates and shooting expeditions, is at variance with the general turmoil in the country. But trouble lurks around the corner, as mysterious characters and events cast a shadow on the tranquillity of Lakhbagan.

This is a perceptive look at the issues facing the Anglo-Indian community at a crucial time in the country's history.

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