India Currents Magazine-December 2009/January 2010 | Ed. by Sharda Krishnamurty
It’s not just ice-skaters competing to Bollywood tunes or “Jai Ho” at the Oscars. India is in, baby, and nowhere is this phenomenon more marked than the rarefied world of publishing. To writers accustomed to slaving in obscurity for years only to be summarily rejected by snooty industry mavens, or “banished to file-cabinet Siberia,” as one of our writers eloquently put it, it must seem remarkable that lately all it takes to get published is a desi-sounding name and a touch of the exotic. India Currents reviewers poke a little fun at this bubble by nominating for the ersatz IC awards books they liked, loved, and loved to hate.
Most Hallucinatory Book of The Year
Most Likely to Shatter Your Ideal Vision of India
Most Likely To Remind You Of Your Marriage
Most Likely to Keep You Reading All Night and Call in Sick the Next Day so You Can Finish It
ATLAS OF UNKNOWNS by Tania James. Alfred A. Knopf: New York. April 2009. $24.95. 336 pages. aaknopf.com. taniajames.com
Book fanatics always look for that next “all night, can’t put it down book,” and Tania James’s Atlas of Unknowns is exactly that. James’ debut is one of grace and maturity, telling a story in which girls, and later women, find their strengths when they are on the verge of giving in to that which engulfs them. Each colorful character is unforgettable, deliciously fashioned, and fully determined. They stand up to deceit and desires, changeable relationships, and the nasty realities of the immigration process with self-confidence and a sense of humor.
This is a novel spiced with fascinating characters navigating unexpected opportunities while treading gently on precious associations. James keeps her finger on every detail, skillfully keeping the reader engaged in a literary game of chess. The depth of her insight and control of the plot exceed that expected of a first novel. James is without question an author to watch and to be read.
Atlas of Unknowns is a book to read, enjoy, and read again, even into the wee hours of the night.
Jeanne E. Fredriksen reads and writes near Chicago.
Most Likely to be (Unfairly) Judged by its Cover
Worst Indian Chick-lit Book of the Year
To learn the winners of the other reviewers’ categories, go here. The IC Book Awards.