October 16, 2012 by markstani
This year’s sixteen-strong shortlist for the DSC Prize 2013 includes Jeet Thayil’s Booker-shortlisted ‘Narcopolis’ and this blog’s book of the year last year, Jamil Ahmad’s ‘The Wandering Falcon’.
In total, five books previously listed for the MAN Asian Prize have made the cut, which all adds up to a strong and varied list. It needed to be if the judges are hoping to find a book worthy of succeeding last year’s winner, Shehan Karunatilaka’s brilliant Chinaman.
The DSC Prize shortlist will be announced on November 20 at the Mayfair Hotel in London, and the winner of the $50,000 Prize subsequently declared at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2013.
Here’s the list, complete with opening excerpts, plus links where applicable to reviews and author interviews:
In the tangle of crumbling, weather-beaten and broken hills, where the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan meet, is a military outpost manned by about two score soldiers.
Leela’s Book by Alice Albinia (Harvill Secker)
‘O elephant-headed god, son of Lord Shiva and Parvati; scribe who wrote down the Mahabharata from the seer Vyasa’s dictation: Lord Ganesh, look favourably on this endeavour.’
The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam (Penguin Books)
Eight days after the end of the war, Sohail Haque stands in a field of dying mustard. The petals of the mustard flower, dried to dust, tickle his nose and remind him of the scent of meat, which he has not tasted in several months.
The Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul Bhattacharya (Picador)
Life, as we know, is a living, shrinking affair, and somewhere down the line I became taken with the idea that man and his world should be renewed on a daily
The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki (Headline Review/Hachette)
He’s writing a letter he never intends to post, but which he knows will one day be found.
Between Clay And Dust by Musharraf Ali Farooqi (Aleph Book Company)
In an old ruined city, emptied of most of its inhabitants, Ustad Ramzi, a famous wrestler past his prime, and Gohar Jan, a well-known courtesan whose kotha once attracted the wealthy and the eminent, contemplate the former splendour of their lives and the ruthless currents of time and history that have swept them into oblivion.
River Of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh Hamish Hamilton/Penguin India)
Deeti’s shrine was hidden in a cliff, in a far corner of Mauritius, where the island’s western and southern shorelines collide to form the wind-whipped dome of the Morne Brabant.
Black Bread White Beer by Niven Govinden (Fourth Estate/Harper Collins India)
The two men squat tentatively in their dinghy, floating without enjoyment. There was trouble casting off in the meagre dawn light, one man slipping on shit-splattered cobbles and getting his foot in the water earlier than anticipated.
So Good In Black by Sunetra Gupta (Clockroot Books)
Come up to the library, says Byron, there’s something I’d like both you boys to see.
Our Lady Of Alice Bhatti by Mohammed Hanif (Random House India)
Less than three minutes in front of the interview panel and Alice Bhatti knows in her heart that she is not likely to get the job advertised as Replacement Junior Nurse, Grade 4.
Em And The Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto (Aleph Book Company)
In a one-bedroom-hall-kitchen in Mahim, Bombay, through the last decades of the twentieth century, lived four lovebattered Mendeses: mother, father, son and daughter.
The Walls Of Delhi by Uday Prakash (UWA Publishing)
The paan shop leads to the opening of a tunnel full of the creatures of the city, and the tears and spit of a fakir.
The girl came at the same hour, summer or winter. Every morning, I heard her approach. Plastic slippers, the clink of steel on stone. And then her footsteps, receding. That morning she was earlier.
The Song Seekers by Saswati Sengupta (Zubaan)
[no preview available]
The Empty Space by Geetanjali Shree Harper Perennial/Harper Collins India)
Perhaps it was then, when the bomb burst. The bomb burst and we scattered. The moment was frozen forever and we, fixed eternally in that moment. Ash flying, fires raging, scraps of flesh airborne.
Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil (Faber)
Bombay, which obliterated its own history by changing its name and surgically altering its face, is the hero or heroin of this story, and since I’m the one who’s telling it and you don’t know who I am, let me say that we’ll get to the who of it but not right now