Book Reviews | The Daily Star
  • Notes on a shared history

    In the weeks following George Floyd’s death—murdered in Minneapolis by a police officer who knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds—the conversation around diversity and inclusion has returned to the forefront,

  • ‘Masud Rana’goes to court

    Among the most iconic characters of popular Bangla literature, Masud Rana’s name is synonymous with that of its author, Kazi Anwar Hossain.

  • Wild Wild East

    In the 1950s, giddy with the glory of a blood-soaked independence, Bollywood churned out films that were high on “Nehruvian nationalism”.

  • Risky Business: The Company that never left

    The book starts with the origin of the word loot, a slang word for plunder. It was imported into the English language while the East India Company and its officers pillaged—for more than 100 years—Bengal, Mysore,

  • Isolation is personal and political in Olivia Laing’s ‘The Lonely City’

    Ever since social isolation began in an attempt to contain the Corona virus, the internet has flooded with references to the American realist painter Edward Hopper, especially his iconic work, ‘Nighthawks’ (1942).

  • The absence of climate change in fiction and other great derangements

    I was first introduced to Amitav Ghosh while gulping down The Hungry Tide as a freshman Environmental Science student. In that book, Ghosh navigates the Indian side of the Sundarbans, its politics, its histories, and its people.

  • Editor’s Note

    Two kinds of spaces are shrinking around us as we speak—one for books and creativity, as it starves from a lack of revenues, and another for our physical existence in the public sphere, caused by the coronavirus.

  • Original vs Derivative: Reading Syed Shamsul Haque’s Ballad of Our Hero Bangabandhu in Translation

    To aptly celebrate the Birth-Centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, one initiative, among others, by Bangla Academy has been to publish Syed Shamsul Haque’s Ballad of our Hero Bangabandhu, together with its translation in English, as part of its grand project named “Birth-Centenary Publications of the Father of the Nation Bangabadhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

  • Language Attitude Anxiety and Remedial Propositions: A New Approach to ELT

    Asantha U Attanayake’s first exchanges with me were over e-mail. She was travelling across the Subcontinent to collect and develop materials for her forthcoming book.


    Rashida Sultana’s much-admired novel, Shada Beralera has been translated into English as The White Cats, recently.

  • History Animated through Words

    No matter Lawrence Durrel defines history as “an endless repetition of the wrong way of living,” we must study it closely for gaining insights into our very own existence and setting our future course of actions.

  • Sweet Dreams and Distressing Nightmares

    Those haunting lyrics of the British band Eurythmics, “Sweet dreams are made of this…”, followed intermittently by “…everybody is looking for something…”, and “…some of them want to use you…” fairly accurately encapsulate the theme of the dozen short stories that make up Rummana Chowdhury’s slim volume,

  • An Afternoon on Syed Manzoorul Islam’s Absurd Night

    An interesting event of launching the revised translation of Syed Manzoorul Islam’s novel Ajgubi Raat took place on Saturday, February

  • New Books: Ekushey Boi Mela, 2020

    The poems in this collection explore issues plaguing the world right now—poverty, class inequality, climate crisis, warfare and

  • NEW from The Daily Star Books

    The book comprises a curated collection of essays written by Professor Fakrul Alam on various occasions for The Daily Star, starting from 1999 until now.

  • New Books

    Dakkhin Asiar Diaspora Shahitya: Itihash, Tatta o Shongkot: A Book on South Asian Diaspora by Mojaffor Hossain

  • Of Myths, Migrants and Misconceptions: A Personal Essay on Charges

    The Reading Circle (TRC) a book club in Dhaka, started the new year with a Literary Encounter at the Goethe Institut onSaturday, January 4. The book for discussion was Charges by Elfriede Jelinek.

  • A Glimpse of the Istanbul We Don’t Know

    There is a difference between being hooked “from” the start of a book and being hooked “by” the start of it. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World—Elif Shafak’s 11th novel—does the latter.

  • Wild Boars, Flies, Love, Loss, Identity: Wild Boar in the Cane Field

    The aforementioned line rises to utmost significance once the novel reaches its end. It would be better to leave this explanation untouched in the review for the readers’ sake.

  • The Word

    I like the idea of that lurking uncertainty in the background. It is the anticipation of what is to come feels exciting. And now here I am facing that uncertainty.

  • On Writer’s Block

    Fairly recently, I was working with two of my colleagues here in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to propose a panel for a conference in North America.

  • Marriage Story: A Dead Marriage and Vulture Lawyers

    The title of Noah Baumbach’s 2019 movie Marriage Story is perhaps ironic and misleading.

  • A Befitting Centenary Tribute to a Major Poet of Our Subcontinent

    If people in Bangladesh remember Kaifi Azmi (1919-2002) now, it is either because of the famous songs he wrote for popular Hindu films such as Kagaz Ke Phool (1959), Pakeezah (1972) and Aarth (1982), or because he is the father of the celebrated actress-activist and member of the Indian Rajya Sabha, Shabana Azmi.

  • On DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019

    The DSC Prize celebrating the rich and varied world literature in South Asia 2019 had announced its longlist on September 26, 2019 evening at the Oxford Bookstore in New Delhi.

  • Recalling Times Past

    Ahh! Yours truly was positively ecstatic as he rapidly flipped through the two hundred-odd pages of Curtain Call: English Language Plays in Dhaka 1950-1970, written by the brother-sister duo of Raza Ali and Niaz Zaman.

  • Shakespearewallah: From Bengal to Belfast

    Here we are on the Irish border for Hallowe’en, originally a Celtic festival designed to propitiate the ghosts of the dead.

  • Guru Dakshina: Legends through the Eyes of a Disciple

    Almost all the readers of this review, I believe, know of the dramatist Momtazuddin Ahmed, National Professor Anisuzzaman or social activist Dr. Anupam Sen. It is a matter of some clicks on your mouse to get to know about these legends from Bangladesh. But, maybe, some of you sympathize with me that you do not know them through the microscopic lens of a student, who were in good terms with these leading lights within the four walls of classrooms and even outside.

  • Samarkand: A Review

    “Look ‘round thee now on Samarcand, Is she not queen of earth? Her pride Above all cities? In her hand

  • Longlist for the dsc Prize for South Asian Literature 2019

    The US $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, which is now in its ninth year, announced its keenly awaited longlist on September 25, 2019. The longlist of 15 novels, which represent the best in South Asian fiction writing, was unveiled by the chair of the jury panel Harish Trivedi at a special event at the Oxford Bookstore in New Delhi.

  • Happy Reading! Bauler Akhray Fa-kirer Deray

    There is no denying that folklore is simply the tale of simple human beings, their everyday stories-stories of love and pain, happiness and hardships. Folk literature is different from others as it deals with the root. Folk literature always looks for the opportunity to