; The Way Things Were
Aatish Taseer. FSG/Faber and Faber, $28 (576p) ISBN 978-0-
Taseer’s (Noon) sprawling epic about two generations of
a privileged Indian family will leave readers intoxicated. Toby,
a maharaja, has immersed himself in the study of Sanskrit;
this intellectualism is, for a time, exciting to his wife, Uma,
but it’s soon revealed to be a way of distancing himself from
Indian life. The story begins with Toby’s death and his son
Skanda’s return to India from Manhattan to carry out the
funeral rites, and it moves back and forth over a 30-year
period, mirroring the unrest of the country from the state
of emergency declared by Indira Gandhi to the present.
Skanda is forced to confront the fact that he has inherited
his father’s detachment and must try to make sense of his
own broken childhood. He resolves to move forward without
repeating his father’s mistakes and makes peace with his
history. Authors often attempt to frame a given period of a
country’s history through a single family’s story, but Taseer’s
book is a cut above the rest. Colonialism, racism, sectarian
violence, class tension, and the rise of the Indian nouveau
riche are all handled with a delicate touch. This is a difficult
book to put down, and readers will enjoy every minute of it,
as well as learning about contemporary Indian culture. (July)
A Passage to India
Pick of the week
DEPARTMENTS & COLUMNS
Condé Nast Portfolio founding editor-in-chief Joanne Lipman gets a
“win” at William Morrow, BBD picks up the latest historical novel
from bestseller Melanie Benjamin, Tiffany Reisz lands a five-book
deal at Mira, and more.
20 Books in Spanish
The Spanish-language book fair LéaLA returns to the Los Angeles
Convention Center this year, May 15–17. We’ve got highlights from
the lineup, plus a listing of forthcoming Spanish-language titles.
124 Soapbox by James Patterson
A bestselling author looks for support to eliminate illiteracy.
; Adult Hardcovers 16 ; Adult Paperbacks 17
; Children’s 18 ; Apple iBooks 19
92 General Fiction
106 General Nonfiction
116 Picture Books
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