Review: ‘The Unwanted’ by Michael Dobbs

In October 1940, the Gestapo (German secret police under the Nazis) expelled around 6000 Jews from a region in Germany, establishing the first “Jewish free zone”. The Jews suddenly found themselves stripped of all assets and living in concentration camps in Occupied France. Racing against time to not be sent eastwards (the camps in Auschwitz), they attempted everything to escape to safe havens in the West. The Jews of one particular village – Kippenheim – are at the heart of this book.

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Review: ‘Verity’ by Colleen Hoover

A struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin (could be me, if I didn’t have a day job), Lowen, gets the opportunity of a lifetime to finish the remaining novels in the series of a successful writer, Verity. A car accident rendered Verity paralyzed, leading her husband Jeremy to hire Lowen. Not a bad idea (GRRM can consider), but it involves tremendous effort on the part of the new author, with an equally big reward.

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Review: ‘The Girl in the Glass Case’ by Devashish Sardana

“The Girl in the Glass Case” is the second book by author Devashish Sardana. Set in present-day Bhopal, this crime-thriller traces the journey of two serial killers – The Clipper, a veteran, one of the nation’s most notorious for the past few years; The Doll Maker, new on the scene but an elaborate showman (rather show-woman), who hogs all the limelight away from the former.

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Review: Farzi (Season 1)

After catching up with The Night Manager, I took up to watching another show that was on my list. Farzi gets many things right, and this post is going to be just me raving about it.

In a bid to save his uncle’s printing press that stands for righteousness and revolution, Sunny (Shahid Kapoor) teams up with his best friend to choose a path opposite of those values. He finds an outlet for his underappreciated artistic skills in designing the perfect counterfeit note, unrecognizable by the government’s new software.

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Review: The Night Manager (India) Part 1

Bollywood gives some blockbuster hits every year, but it is OTT shows that have been pushing the boundaries of storytelling in India for the last few years.

Naturally, the Night Manager excited me, amongst many others. A cast with top actors gave me hope, because it meant the show had a huge budget, and perhaps some of it went to the director, the writers, cinematographers, and others who adapted the novel by John le Carré.

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Review: ‘Four and Twenty Black Birds’ by Godfrey Joseph Pereira

‘Four and Twenty Black Birds’ is a historical fiction by author Godfrey Joseph Pereira, chronicling the life and adventures of a Charlie Strongbow – an Englishman who refused to leave India when it won independence from the British. Charlie had never been the England, India was all he knew as home. Along with his colleagues from Victoria Docks, who had their own reasons to stay back in India, they did what they do best – crime.

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Review: ‘The Silver Road’ by Stina Jackson

‘Silvervägen’ is a Swedish novel by Stina Jackson which is translated into English by Susan Beard and titled ‘The Silver Road’. The translation is excellent and I wasn’t aware that it was one until after I finished reading it!

The silver road is where Lelle dropped his daughter—Lina, three years ago. Lina was supposed to board the bus, but she never did. And no one found her or heard from her after that. Lelle spends the nights driving down the silver road, investigating the people and properties around it, and bugging the police.

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Review: ‘City of Jackals’ by Parker Bilal

‘City of Jackals’ is the fifth book (a standalone read) in the Makana Investigation series by Parker Bilal (pseudonym of Jamal Mahjoub). The year is 2005. Large number of Sudanese are protesting in the middle of Cairo, Egypt, demanding a permanent refugee status. The government, elected with a suspicious 88% of the votes, has the riot police on stand-by with no interest in talking with the protestors. The rest of Cairo is divided between sympathizing with and antagonizing them. But both the groups are certain about one thing: it’s going to get very ugly, very soon.

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Review: ‘When I Hid My Caste’ by Jerry Pinto

This book of 135 pages captures 10 unapologetic and uncensored short stories of the marginalized in Indian society. Marginalized based on their caste, their gender, or their appearance. Originally published as ‘Jevha Mi Jaat Chorli Hoti’, the debut collection of short stories by Baburao Bagul has been given a new life and made more accessible by Jerry Pinto, who translated it in English under the title ‘When I Hid My Caste’. Apart from the addition of interesting and informative footnotes, it rarely feels like a translated work. When the original stories were published in 1963, they were claimed to revolutionize not just Dalit literature but Marathi and Indian literature too, and I can see why.

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