Manil Suri’s rich second novel, The Age Of Shiva (W.W. Norton, $14.95), grows from the intimacy of a mother and her infant son to encompass decades of political and social upheaval in India. As he did so memorably in The Death of Vishnu, Suri gives an unsparing depiction of class differences, showing inequities at work in everything from living and sleeping arrangements to the observance—or not—of religious rituals. This story focuses on upper-class Meera, romantic, headstrong, and ironically rebellious against her progressive father, who wants her to have an education and a career, not the limited domestic life traditionally available to Indian women. Meera learns from her mistakes, but can’t undo them, and as she comes to terms with her choices and her passions, India, too, changes and moves in new directions.

The Age of Shiva: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393333633
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 12th, 2009

Grouped loosely around the wealthy landowner and businessman K.K. Harouni, the eight stories in Daniyal Mueenuddin’s fascinating debut collection, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (W.W. Norton, $23.95), is an upstairs/downstairs look at contemporary Pakistani society. However well off, Mueenuddin’s characters are always concerned with sheer survival, whether it’s struggling with relatives over an inheritance, paying off the right politicians, making an advantageous marriage, starting an affair, or keeping on the good side of the senior servants. Often desperate, these figures find ingenious ways to get by; some simply work hard, despite the odds, while others develop a cutthroat opportunism. Then there’s Rezak, an impoverished gardener, dying of loneliness, whose “home and consolation” is the box he lives in, a kind of house made from debris, which Rezak dismantles and carts off each time he loses a job and must move on.

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780393337204
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 16th, 2009

Dr. Abraham Verghese turns his remarkable empathy into powerful fiction in this story that draws on his medical training, his years of practice, and his childhood in Ethiopia. The principal narrator of Cutting For Stone (Knopf, $26.95) is Marion Praise Stone, one of a set of identical twins born to a dying nurse, Sister Mary Joseph Praise, in Addis Ababa in the early 1950s. The father, surgeon Thomas Stone, disappeared immediately after their birth, leaving the twins to be raised by Dr. Hemlatha and Dr. Ghosh, who followed Hema to Addis to work in the mission hospital. The backdrop is Ethiopia’s deteriorating political situation during and after Haile Selassie’s regime. Verghese’s capacity for empathy was notable in his previous nonfiction, as was his interest in the human condition. But to spin an imaginative tale is a talent of a different order, and he has exceeded expectation. There is great assurance in Verghese’s writing and ebullience in his storytelling.


With Cutting For Stone (Knopf, $26.95), Abraham Verghese has written a totally absorbing 500-plus page story that draws on his medical training, his life as an immigrant physician in the U.S., and his childhood and youth in Ethiopia. The novel is narrated by Marion Praise Stone, one of a set of identical twin boys born to a dying nurse, Sister Mary Joseph Praise, in Addis Ababa in the early ’50s. The father, surgeon Thomas Stone, disappeared immediately after their birth, leaving the twins to be raised by Dr. Hemlatha and Dr. Ghosh, who followed Hema to Addis to work in the mission hospital. The backdrop is Ethiopia’s deteriorating political situation during and after Haille Sellassie’s regime. Verghese’s capacity for empathy was notable in his previous nonfiction, as was his interest in the human condition. But to spin an imaginative tale is a talent of a different order and he has exceeded expectation. There is such assurance in Verghese’s writing and ebullience in his storytelling.

 

Cutting for Stone: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375414497
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - February 3rd, 2009

Cutting for Stone Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780375714368
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - January 26th, 2010

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