In My Hands Today…

Bitter Sweets – Roopa Farooki

Henna Rub is a precocious teenager whose wheeler-dealer father never misses a business opportunity and whose sumptuous Calcutta marriage to wealthy romantic Ricky-Rashid Karim is achieved by an audacious network of lies. Ricky will learn the truth about his seductive bride, but the way is already paved for a future of double lives and deception–family traits that will filter naturally through the generations, forming an instinctive and unspoken tradition. Even as a child, their daughter Shona, herself conceived on a lie and born in a liar’s house, finds telling fibs as easy as ABC. But years later, living above a sweatshop in South London’s Tooting Bec, it is Shona who is forced to discover unspeakable truths about her loved ones and come to terms with what superficially holds her family together–and also keeps them apart–across geographical, emotional and cultural distance.

In My Hands Today…

Animal’s People – Indra Sinha

Ever since he can remember, Animal has gone on all fours, the catastrophic result of what happened on That Night when, thanks to an American chemical company, the Apocalypse visited his slum. Now not quite twenty, he leads a hand-to-mouth existence with his dog Jara and a crazy old nun called Ma Franci, and spends his nights fantasising about Nisha, the daughter of a local musician, and wondering what it must be like to get laid.

When a young American doctor, Elli Barber, comes to town to open a free clinic for the still suffering townsfolk – only to find herself struggling to convince them that she isn’t there to do the dirty work of the ‘Kampani’ – Animal plunges into a web of intrigues, scams and plots with the unabashed aim of turning events to his own advantage.

In My Hands Today…

Anarchy and Old Dogs (Dr. Siri Paiboun #4) – Colin Cotterill

A blind retired dentist has been run down by a logging truck on the street in Vientiane just opposite the post office. His body is duly delivered to the morgue of Dr. Siri Paiboun, the official and only coroner of Laos. At the age of seventy-four, Dr. Siri is too old to be in awe of the new communist bureaucrats for whom he now works. He identifies the corpse, helped by the letter in the man’s pocket. But first he must decipher it; it is written in code and invisible ink. The dentist’s widow explains that the enigmatic letters and numbers describe chess moves, but they are unlike any chess symbols Siri has previously encountered. With the help of his old friend, Civilai, now a senior member of the Laos politburo; Nurse Dtui (“Fatty”); Phosy, a police officer; and Aunt Bpoo, a transvestite fortune-teller, Dr. Siri solves the mystery of the note and foils a plot to overthrow the government of Laos.

In My Hands Today…

Veil of Roses – Laura Fitzgerald

This compelling debut follows one spirited young woman from the confines of Iran to the intoxicating freedom of America, where she discovers not only an enticing new country but the roots of her own independence…

Tamila Soroush wanted it all. But in the Islamic Republic of Iran, dreams are a dangerous thing for a girl. Knowing they can never come true, Tami abandons them… Until her twenty-fifth birthday, when her parents give her a one-way ticket to America, hoping she will go and wake up her luck. If they have their way, Tami will never return to Iran… which means she has three months to find a husband in America. Three months before she’s sent back for good.

From her first Victoria’s Secret bra to her first ride on a motor scooter to her first country line-dance, Tami drinks in the freedom of an American girl. Inspired to pursue her passion for photography, she even captures her adventures on film. But looming over her is the fact that she must find an Iranian-born husband before her visa expires. To complicate matters, her friendship with Ike, a young American man, has grown stronger. And it is becoming harder for Tami to ignore the forbidden feelings she has for him.

It’s in her English as a second language classes that Tami finds a support system. With the encouragement of headstrong Eva, loyal Nadia, and Agata and Josef, who are carving out a love story of their own, perhaps Tami can keep dreaming and find a way to stay in America.

In My Hands Today…

What Angels Fear (Sebastian St. Cyr #1) – C.S. Harris

It’s 1811, and the threat of revolution haunts the upper classes of King George III’s England. Then a beautiful young woman is found raped and savagely murdered on the altar steps of an ancient church near Westminster Abbey. A dueling pistol discovered at the scene and the damning testimony of a witness both point to one man, Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, a brilliant young nobleman shattered by his experience in the Napoleonic Wars.

Now a fugitive running for his life, Sebastian calls upon his skill as an agent during the war to catch the killer and prove his own innocence. In the process, he accumulates a band of unlikely allies, including the enigmatic beauty Kat Boleyn, who broke Sebastian’s heart years ago. In Sebastian’s world of intrigue and espionage, nothing is as it seems, yet the truth may hold the key to the future of the British monarchy, as well as to Sebastian’s own salvation….

In My Hands Today…

The Time Merchants and other strange tales – Vasudev Murthy

This set of thirty powerful short stories takes the readers on a journey from the absurd to the sublimely sensitive, from the mundane to the esoteric and from the depths of extreme sorrow to the heights of humour. It explores the boundaries of imagination and holds the attention of readers with unusual storylines, tight and subtle language and a unique narrative style.

In My Hands Today…

American Dervish – Ayad Akhtar

Hayat Shah is a young American in love for the first time. His normal life of school, baseball, and video games had previously been distinguished only by his Pakistani heritage and by the frequent chill between his parents, who fight over things he is too young to understand. Then Mina arrives, and everything changes.

Mina is Hayat’s mother’s oldest friend from Pakistan. She is independent, beautiful and intelligent, and arrives on the Shah’s doorstep when her disastrous marriage in Pakistan disintegrates. Even Hayat’s skeptical father can’t deny the liveliness and happiness that accompanies Mina into their home. Her deep spirituality brings the family’s Muslim faith to life in a way that resonates with Hayat as nothing has before. Studying the Quran by Mina’s side and basking in the glow of her attention, he feels an entirely new purpose mingled with a growing infatuation for his teacher.

When Mina meets and begins dating a man, Hayat is confused by his feelings of betrayal. His growing passions, both spiritual and romantic, force him to question all that he has come to believe is true. Just as Mina finds happiness, Hayat is compelled to act — with devastating consequences for all those he loves most.

In My Hands Today…

The Reluctant Mullah – Sagheer Afzal

In a moment of idle curiosity, Musa tries on the modest garb of a Muslim woman to experience for himself what it’s like to be veiled. While this cause much mirht among his fellow students at the Madrasah, the elders are not amused, viewing Musa’s experimentation as a prank too far.

Back at home he must conform to family life and face the prospect of an arranged marriage. Cleverly, the family patriarch, Dadaji, offers him a deal: a month of days to find himself a bride or else Musa must accept Dadaji’s own choice.

And so the race is on for Musa, a devout Muslim and gentle idealist, who dreams of a perfect companion but despairs of ever finding her. When his siblings and friends step in to help, their efforts lead both to hilarity and outrage but soon the dark side of tradition rears its ugly head…

In My Hands Today…

Trespassing – Uzma Aslam Khan

Back in Karachi for his father’s funeral, Daanish, a young Pakistani changed by his years at an American university, is entranced by Dia, a fiercely independent heiress to a silk factory in the countryside. Their illicit affair will forever rupture two households and three families, destroying a stable present built on the repression of a bloody past.

In this sweeping novel of modern Pakistan, Uzma Aslam Khan takes us from the stifling demands of tradition and family to the daily oppression of routine political violence, from the gorgeous sensual vistas of the silk farms to the teeming streets of Karachi–stinking, crumbling, and corrupt.