Briefings: Sale On

Sale on

Cambridge University Press has opened a sale on the foreign titles that we always think twice before ordering. It offers a flat 50 per cent discount on imported academic works, which represents significant savings on cover prices in dollars and pounds. Subjects range from politics, history and literature, which are accessible to lay readers, to scientific and technical areas which have a smaller but intense readership. The sale lasts till March 31 unless stocks run out.

Among titles which catch the eye are the well-known companions to literature, covering areas from the Arthurian cycle via Daniel Defoe to Frederick Douglass and Thomas Jefferson. Standout titles include Michael Morris' Introduction to the Philosophy of Language and David Levy's Guide to Eclipses, Transits and Occultations, much beloved of amateur stargazers, whose soft copy is available on Google Books and the iTunes store. Titles likely to excite awe rather than mainstream interest include Femtosecond Biophotoniscs and Dynamic Energy Budget Theory for Metabolic Organisation.

Mumbai in verse

Ministry of Hurt Sentiments

Altaf Tyrewala

Fourth Estate

Rs 299


This is Altaf Tyrewala in verse, after the success of the novel No God in Sight and Mumbai Noir, the Akashic Books title he edited. This avatar of Tyrewala remains as stark as his first published work, a short story dating back to 2000. It is set on the same stage of Mumbai, an inhumanly unfeeling, soul-dead city where life can only be a crazy joke.

The jacket blurb declares the book to be a "new genre-bending work of far-reaching literary consequences". It is indeed commendable, in this decade of safe bets, for a writer to step away from the genre in which he gained recognition to play with poetry. But the verse forms here appear to have been used with no particular design in mind and the claim about literary consequences appears to be an exaggeration. Of course, Tyrewala has retained the visual acuity which gave muscle to his fiction but cannot bend the light towards a focus. The book is a page-turner but when it's finished, it is revealed as a rant. And hell, it could always have been written in prose.

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