Best Reads 2016: Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar

 Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar

Pix: Namrata Basnet

1.     ONE THOUSAND DAYS IN A REFRIGERATOR: STORIES, collection of short stories by Manoj Kumar Panda, translated from the original Odia by Snehaprava Das: An interesting read with stories full of twists and power.

2.     WHEN THE RIVER SLEEPS, novel by Easterine Kire: Easterine Kire took me to a beautiful and familiar world in this novel.

3.     LADY LOLITA’S LOVER, novel by R. Raj Rao: An entertaining, sexy, and satisfying juxtaposition of the Nanavati Case and D. H. Lawrence’s classic, ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’.

4.     JIHADI JANE, novel by Tabish Khair: An entertaining take on a very serious issue, I felt for the characters in Tabish Khair’s novel, especially the character Halide.

5.     A FULL NIGHT’S THIEVERY: STORIES, collection of short stories by Mitra Phukan: Calm, composed stories with some very beautiful sentences—since I have heard Mitra Phukan speak and know how soft-spoken and composed she is, reading her stories in this collection was almost like listening to her read the stories live.

6.     THE NIGHT GUEST, novel by Fiona McFarlane: Aged parents living alone, children living far away, parents noticing strange things in the house—this book is a thriller, but with a social message.

7.     DHUA OTANG OG KANA (THE SMOKE IS WAFTING AWAY), collection of poems in Santhali by Parimal Hansda: This collection of poems won the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar 2016 in Santhali. I have not read the entire collection, just a few poems (in December 2016—so I look forward to reading more poems from this collection), and I loved them! I am not exactly a poetry person, but the images the poet creates – there is a poem set in Jangalmahal area of West Bengal, another about a man sitting in a boat with no boatman – I was just absorbed in those images.

 What I Look Forward To Reading In 2017:

 I am reading Easterine Kire’s novel, ‘Son Of The Thundercloud’, now. Beautiful work! I will finish reading this first. Then I hope to read more poems from Parimal Hansda’s collection, ‘Dhua Otang Og Kana’, and also more works in Santhali. And one book which I am absolutely looking forward to reading in 2017 is a publishing event that so many people all over the world must be looking forward to: Arundhati Roy’s second novel in twenty years, ‘The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness’.

Hansda Shekhar

Hansda Shekhar

HANSDA SOWVENDRA SHEKHAR is the author of two books: a novel, ‘The Mysterious Ailment Of Rupi Baskey’, which won the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar 2015, jointly won the Muse India Young Writer Award 2015, was shortlisted for The Hindu Prize 2014 and a Crossword Book Award 2014, and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award 2016; a collection of short stories, ‘The Adivasi Will Not Dance’, which has been recommended for a course in the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and shortlisted for The Hindu Prize 2016; and a number of fiction and non-fiction works that have been published in The International New York Times, The Indian Express, The Caravan Vantage, The Times of India, The Hindu Business Line, Mint Lounge, Outlook, Scroll, TheWire, The Asian Age, The Punch Magazine, Alchemy: The Tranquebar Book Of Erotic Stories II, and other places. His next novel, ‘A Memorial’, is forthcoming in 2017.