November 20, 2012 by markstani
This year’s six-strong DSC Prize shortlist includes 2012 MAN Booker shortlistee ‘Narcopolis’ by Jeet Thayil, plus three more books that were highlighted by last year’s MAN Asian Prize. I’m especially delighted Jamil Ahmad’s jagged collection of tales from the Pakistani tribal lands, ‘The Wandering Falcon’, has made the cut. It’s also good to see Uday Prakash’s ‘The Walls of Delhi’ still in with a shout. The book is translated by Jason Grunebaum and published by UWA in Western Australia: I’ve only managed the free Kindle sample so far, but it is definitely a book that demands further exploration.
So here’s the list of those still standing, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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