“The Witness is not her best but it’s an unputdownable read,” Prerna said about Nora Roberts’ book. The adult romance thriller tells the story of Elizabeth Fitch, a sixteen-year-old, whose life is run on a schedule. When she rebels for the first time in her life, gets a fake ID and dyes her hair a different color just to break free from her cold, controlling mother’s grip, she ends up as the witness of a crime. That single event forces her to lead a life in hiding in the small dark town of Ozarks. Brooks Gleason, the local police chief, decides to help her.
Listen to the first chapter of The Witness here.
Poonam picked up a copy of Anita Nair’s Eating Wasps. “The book title made me curious,” she said, “I thought I would get to the bottom of it and then go back to reading other titles but it was so engrossing that I read the book in a single sitting.” The story uses the mis en abyme approach of the Kathasaritsagar, an eleventh-century collection of Indian legends, fairy tales and folk tales, to weave one story in the other and tell the tales of ten women. Their stories are open-ended and Anita Nair covers relevant issues like stalking and body-shaming. The book is a nod to the Keralite writer, Rajalakshmi, a lecturer in physics who doubled as a writer of several controversial works and was also christened as the Jane Austen of Indian literature. She won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 1960 for her work Oru Vazhiyum Kure Nizhalukalum (A Path and a Few Shadows) at the age of thirty-four. Unfortunately, her wizardry with words ended abruptly when she committed suicide in 1965. Strangely enough, there are no translations of her work as yet.
The topic of translation is a favorite at the BYOB Parties. Some languages are more easily translated than others; some translations hardly do justice to the work. Apurba mentioned how Monica Ali’s Brick Lane was filled with Bengali idioms, the transliterations of which gave the book its dose of creativity.
More books in Part 3.