Soniah Kamal


Can’t Wait to Read These!

Opening mail is always a thrill, especially when the package looks as if it contains a book. Even better: it opens to a friend’s novel. Thank you so much to Shikha Malaviya for her poetry collection Geography of Tongues, R. K. Biswas for her novel Culling Mynahs and Crows , and to Yawar Khan for sending me Michelle Corasanti’s novel The Almond Tree. I can’t wait to read these!!



“Shikha Malaviya’s country is composed of rough silk the color of dusk and the resonant aroma of camphor mixed with gun-smoke. Her clever and inventive poems inhabit the contested space where Western culture collides with Hindu mythology, in a resplendent crash of forms that range from prose poems to lyrical litanies, all of them deeply felt and elegantly crafted. Spending time in the company of her distinctive voice, we come to realize with great certainty and even greater delight, that Malaviya’s country is none other than our very own.” – RAVI SHANKAR, Executive Director, Drunken Boat

“Culling Mynahs and Crows: Unhappy because her career isn’t taking off, Agnirekha turns vicious, without getting to the root of her problems. The exquisitely beautiful Agnishikha, a girl from Bisrampur comes to Calcutta as the bride of a low ranking government servant. Brought up to be a good and dutiful wife, Agnishikha wants to lead a happy domestic life, but all that changes when she is brutalized by political goons and becomes a pawn in Agnirekha’s reportage. Agnishikha struggles to keep her sanity as her life crumbles away. Ten years later, Agnirekha, as a Ph. D student in Boston, finds a right partner, who helps Agnirekha come to terms with her reality and sexuality. But Agnirekha can never forget the ones she destroyed.”

“The Almond Tree: Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with knowing that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Living on occupied land, his entire village operates in fear of losing their homes, jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other. On Ichmad’s twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality.”



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