The World’s Wife: Carol Ann Duffy

History and myth have often focused on men: Sisyphus, Lazarus, Herod, Pilate, Midas, Faust, Freud… But what of their wives? Who were they and what did they think of their men? These women are brought to life in Carol Ann Duffy’s collection of poems. The wives of the men mentioned above, female figures like Salomé, …

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies: John Boyne

The book begins in Ireland in the 1940s: The Catholic Church is all-powerful, and anything outside the norm is not only frowned upon but punished. For example, having a child outside marriage, as Catherine Goggin, a pregnant teenager in an Irish village finds out. She is exposed by the priest and banished from the village. …

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Celestial Objects: Jokha Alharthi

Translated from Arabic by Marilyn Booth Celestial Objects is a novel by Omani writer Jokha Alharthi that won the Man Booker International Prize in 2019. This makes it unusual—there aren’t a lot of books by Omani writers translated into English, and this is the first novel written originally in Arabic to win the prize. The …

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My Name is Gauhar Jaan! The Life and Times of a Musician: Vikram Sampath

Review by Sadhana Ramchander I have been fascinated by Gauhar Jaan's life ever since I came to know about her. I bought this hard-bound book in the bookshop A A Hussian some years ago but it sat on my shelves for a long time. I finally read it, and am so glad I did because …

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Good Omens: Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

This delightfully subversive look at the Apocalypse and everything that went before is one of my favourite books. Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon, have been living on Earth since the beginning. Crowley, who starts out as the serpent in the Garden of Eden but has taken on human form, has “dark hair and …

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