Book Reviews | The Daily Star
  • The view from the West

    After half a century from where we began, Daily Star Books will spend all of this year—the 50th year of Bangladesh—revisiting and analyzing some of the books that played crucial roles in documenting the Liberation War of 1971 and the birth of this nation. In this sixth installment, we revisit both Khadim Hussain Raja’s A Stranger in My Own Country (Oxford University Press, 2012), in which a retired general gives often problematic views from West Pakistan’s perspective, and Pakistani journalist Anthony Mascarenhas’ The Rape of Bangladesh (Vikas Publications, 1971), a pivotal book in changing world opinion on the then-underreported genocide of East Pakistan.

  • Four new books to read this March

    In July of 2013, Patricia Lockwood wrote the decade’s most immediate and pressing poem, “Rape Joke”. Already by then Lockwood had amassed prizes and praises enough to fill a few cabinets.

  • Boi Mela updates as of Friday

    The Ekushey Boi Mela, which was inaugurated on March 18, 2021, is stretching out across an expanded space of 1500,000 sq ft to accommodate the 834 stalls allocated to 540 organisations this year.

  • The unfortunate Asians of Uganda

    In the 1890s, many South Asians were brought to Uganda by the British Empire for administration and development purposes.

  • A new book explores the mediascape of Bangladesh

    We barely see cross-disciplinary initiatives that try to understand our media, culture, society and politics. In this wake, Dr Ratan Kumar Roy’s Television in Bangladesh: News and Audiences (Routledge, 2021) offers a rich ethnography of television news practices in Bangladesh, with a foreword by Marcus Banks, Professor of Visual Anthropology at Oxford University.

  • War of attrition

    When searching for literature covering the role of the Mukti Bahini in the victory of 1971, a noticeable dearth of objective analyses is apparent.

  • The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire

    Here is a door stopper for the lingering period of hibernation. All 522 pages provide ample literary support for long-term homebound inmates.

  • Women in publishing

    The publishing and literary world in Bangladesh have considerable visibility of women: some are authoritative figures in the literary and academic world, some run their own establishments and bookshops; others occupy senior positions in many of the local publishing houses and literary committees. However, like the systems and society we currently operate in, this industry is also influenced by the larger patriarchal structure.

  • The case of the missing girl: Where are we in Bangla children’s literature?

    It wasn’t until my 20s that I realised I had read less than 10 Bengali women authors in my childhood and adolescence.

  • Five novels with strong women protagonists

    Hellfire is at once a book about patriarchy and the toxic strand of matriarchy that supports it. Through the lives of sisters Lovely and Beauty, both kept from socialisation and even attending school deep into middle age, the novel captures near perfectly the convoluted blueprint of life for South Asian women.

  • Is science fiction really not a woman’s genre?

    Last week, I decided to pen a tribute to my favourite authors of science fiction, a love letter, really, that has long been in the pipeline.

  • Once More Into the Past: Essays, Personal, Public, and Literary

    “How does Tagore intoxicate a growing young man . . . .? How has Dhaka transitioned through the Partition of Bengal and the birth of the University of Dhaka? . . . . how does one remember-- with nuance, with style-- icons of history and culture . . . .?”

  • What does it take to build a business empire?

    Binod K Chaudhary, the chairman of the CG Corp Global conglomerate group, is Nepal’s first billionaire and possibly the most successful industrialist in his nation.

  • Bill Gates’ blueprint for a greener planet

    Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and the world’s fourth-wealthiest person, has written a new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster (Knopf, 2021) in which he cites the looming catastrophe of radical global climate change and sets out an incredibly ambitious goal that he argues is the only possible path for our species’ survival: achieving zero.

  • Night has brought him something worse: 2021’s first must-read

    “The thing was that everyone knew Julita’s parents hadn’t died in any accident: Julita’s folks had disappeared. They were disappeared. They’d been disappeared”.

  • Translation with a Midas touch

    Abdus Selim, a noted Bangladeshi translator, playwright, essayist and educationist, has, of late, come up with a collection of five plays in Bangla translation titled Panch Manchanubad (Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, 2021).

  • Conservation through literature

    The River Tales (2021) is a series of graphic novels for children, commissioned by Asia Foundation’s ‘Let’s Read Asia’ digital library project and produced by HerStory Foundation in an effort to raise awareness about Bangladesh’s heritage and culture. Sarah Anjum Bari, editor of Star Books, speaks to Katerina Don, curator at HerStory Foundation, writer Anita Amreen, and artist Sayeef Mahmud about their processes of research, writing, and graphic designing for the series.

  • Together against the catastrophe

    The 156-page hardback edition will be available in Bangla, English, and German.

  • ‘Tumi Kon Gogoner Tara’: In remembrance of a mother

    A solemn tribute to mothers and to our nation’s unrelenting humanity, Hussain’s novel shows us the people and the Bangladesh we could more often be.

  • Boibondhu book exchange festival takes place at Rabindra Sarobar

    The event witnessed participation from people of all ages, from toddlers to adults.

  • In death, he became visible

    Vivek Oji, the titular character in Akwaeke Emezi’s second novel, is dead; this is stated in the title, the first line, and throughout the book. However, in every chapter, Vivek keeps coming alive, images of him rising out of the text’s surface only to dissolve again.

  • Serajul Islam Chowdhury speaks about the state of Bangla education

    Language and education are prime markers in identifying one’s participation in society and politics. Having just commemorated the International Mother Language Day on February 21, that too on the verge of our nation’s silver jubilee, it is perhaps a unique opportunity for us to question, reflect, and make changes to our politics on language, education, and social identities.

  • Prelude to a national disintegration

    After half a century from where we began, Daily Star Books will spend all of this year—the 50th year of Bangladesh—revisiting, celebrating, and analyzing some of the books that played pivotal roles in documenting the Liberation War of 1971 and the birth of this nation.

  • The spirit of sharing defines the end of February 2021

    In this last week of February, a shared sense of optimism, however cautious, is pervading much of the world and indeed our own. Slowly, and now safely, more and more events and programmes are opening their doors. Book enthusiasts can enjoy the following events this week:

  • Tahmima Anam, Monica Ali, Leesa Gazi, and Nasima Bee discuss ‘Sultana’s Dream’ for The British Library

    On February 22, 2021, The British Library hosted “Sultana’s Dream: Contemporary Fiction of Bangladeshi Origin”, a free virtual session on Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s feminist utopian novella.

  • Lyricist Gazi Mazharul Anwar launches book, ‘Olpo Kothar Golpo Gaan’

    Olpo Kothar Golpo Gaan includes 200 of these iconic songs.

  • Sister Library participants read Ferdousi Priyabashini’s ‘Nindito Nondon’

    Fuleshwary Priyanandini recounted the stories she was told by her mother.

  • Razia Khan: Life and Literature Archived

    For anyone looking to immerse themself in the literary culture of Bangladesh, Professor Razia Khan Amin’s name and presence are unavoidable.

  • The (D)Evolution of the Paranoid Android

    To write of Radiohead’s 2000 album Kid A is to add to the palimpsest of its criticism, at this stage a glowing, impossibly effusive set of texts.

  • Where folktales meet social commentary

    I stumbled across a short story written by Aoko Matsuda called “Quite a Catch” in the Wasafiri literary magazine last month.