Book Reviews | The Daily Star
  • 10 HORROR NOVELS FROM BANGLADESH AND ABROAD

    Halloween is merely a cover--our lives seem plenty steeped in horror this year, confined within physical and psychological walls, breathing in

  • Hashim & Family: A Sweeping Tale of Immigration and Family Ties

    Hashim & Family (John Murray, 2020) takes us on a journey across two countries, spanning two decades. It begins with the titular Hashim moving from East Pakistan to Manchester in the 1960s in hopes of a better living, inspired by his cousin Rofikul, himself an immigrant of a few years.

  • Do the books on Trump qualify as exposé?

    As of this writing, the United States is currently in the final weeks of its most partisan and controversial presidential election in 150 years,

  • On Zadie Smith’s Bangladeshi characters

    I am not a Bangladeshi immigrant living in a Bangladeshi neighbourhood somewhere in Kilburn, London like Samad Iqbal and his family from White Teeth (Hamish Hamilton, 2000).

  • Whispers of the Muse: Melania Trump

    With the US elections looming, the tabloids are mostly fixated on the orange man. Few know about the roles of his calmer and more composed counterpart,

  • The Ottoman Who Conquered History

    Yale University Department of History chair Alan Mikhail’s new book God’s Shadow: Sultan Selim, His Ottoman Empire, and the Making of the Modern World (Liveright, 2020) takes a much-welcomed fresh look at Selim I, a figure of signature cultural and historical importance in Turkish history.

  • A concoction of medicine, history, and drama in ‘A Ballad of Remittent Fever’

    Ginger, lemon juice, or a dash of honey added to a warm cup of tea. Some variation of this remedy to common cold is a familiar one in Bengali households.

  • On discovering the poetry of Louise Glück, Nobel Prize in Literature 2020

    Louise Glück’s poetry is at once deeply personal and ubiquitous. Articles explaining her work demur from calling it confessional, and they may be right. It doesn’t feel like the thoughts and feelings of another; the speaker confessing seems more vulnerable, as if they’re opening up directly to you. The sceneries she weaves are odd and alluring, and behind the deceptively simple lines are layers of meaning.

  • The mango-powered superhero you need to know about

    Of all the notable works done on visual media in our country, Shabash by Mighty Punch Studio came as a welcome surprise to me. From the tone of storytelling to the beautiful visuals, Mighty Punch Studios paint a unique stroke.

  • Shelves of deceit

    When the lockdown was enforced and we were all confined to our homes, I began organising my bookshelf and no longer had stray paperbacks all over the house. I could finally spread my legs while taking a nap. This was received with great enthusiasm and approval of my mother, and confused glares of my cat.

  • Teacher Tales with SHOUT and Daily Star Books!

    Did you watch our very special Teacher’s Day Facebook and YouTube Live with the immensely popular Professor Asrar Chowdhury of

  • Enola Holmes: The book behind the film

    Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective of 221B Baker Street, has a sister. Her name is Enola Holmes, and despite being much younger than him, she shows powers of deductive reasoning that foretell her advent into the world of mystery and intrigue.

  • A family comes undone in Leesa Gazi’s ‘Hellfire’

    Bright and cold on a winter afternoon, in the hours leading up to lunch, the kitchen of a Bengali family sizzles with tension. Refrigerated meat is thawed and spices are crushed and pestled.

  • Should we separate art from the artist?

    When I was in 9th grade, a friend introduced me to the works of director Lars von Trier, starting with the film Dogville (2003). I’d never seen a feature film play out so well, in such intensity, with nothing but a largely empty sound stage for a film set.

  • Revisiting the only book written by an Indian about the Indian soldiers of WWI

    Tens of thousands of men sailed across the ocean to a land they’d never before heard the name of. They fought long and hard, in the world’s

  • Nabil Rahman yearns for big truths with few words in ‘Water Bodies’

    About this book, I’d like to speak simply. Because Nabil Rahman’s Water Bodies (Nokta/ Boobook, 2020) speaks simply too, without frills or embellishment.

  • Sketchy memories

    Travis Dandro’s King of King Court: A Memoir (Drawn & Quarterly, 2019) is a large, dense book that reads light and fast. The coming of age story is packed with the raw emotional power of the author’s traumatic childhood.

  • Around the world in 80 books with David Damrosch

    Literary historian David Damrosch’s travails with World Literature are charted most often by those within academia. During the Covid-19 inertia

  • Hot mess—Andrea Bartz’s ‘The Herd’

    When it comes to book reviews, I have found an interesting paradox—the better a book is, the easier it becomes to write about.

  • Humans are innately evil, and other lies we tell ourselves

    At some point in time, we decided cynicism was synonymous with intelligence and wisdom. We praised cynics for their realism and scoffed at those who held onto fairy tales.

  • ‘Ajob Deshe Alice’: Alice’s adventures now in Bangla

    Alice’s Adventures in the Wonderland (1865)

  • Must reads out from Bangladesh in 2020

    The 40 poems and photographs of wooden sculptors in Water Bodies reflect poet-artist Nabil Rahman’s experiences with art, immigration, intergenerational trauma, artificial intelligence, spirituality, and more.

  • In the heart of anxiety

    I picked up Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019) while trying to find a good therapist in this dreary land.

  • Orwell’s ‘1984’ was a warning, not a prediction

    Two strange events took place in November 2016; Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 48th President of the United States, and George Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984, suddenly became a best seller again.

  • Growing up with ‘Archie’ comics

    As a tiny five-year old in the ’80s, I first discovered and liberated an Archie comic from a teenage cousin the way oil rich countries are liberated: by force. I used superior tactics of crying, pleading, whining and bargaining.

  • There will be darkness again

    As humans we teeter on the oddest of precipices. We are only animals: apes unusually adept at surviving Earth’s harsh playbook for life. Like the multitude of organisms we share it with, we live, multiply, and without exception, we die.

  • BACK TO SCHOOL: Campus novels worth revisiting

    Instead of the thrill of meeting friends and professors in a bustling, energised campus, going back to school only involves a computer this September.

  • Submission and surveillance in Suzanne Collins’ dystopia

    Twelve years ago, Suzanne Collins introduced us to The Hunger Games (Scholastic Press), a dystopian world where children fight to their televised deaths in a brutal annual competition.

  • The stillness of human wandering

    When we think of migration, the images in our collective narratives are constructed primarily with masses of people on the move, leaving places they belong in for foreign lands. In her latest book, Sonia Shah, an American science journalist and author, critically takes apart the boundaries around human wandering both in our lands and our mind-sets.

  • Bollywood’s ‘The Fault in Our Stars’: Okay? Not Okay?

    When The Fault in Our Stars (2012) first released, it brought on a powerful surge of change, not only in our reading lists, but in our perception of terminal and mental diseases and even to the genre itself.

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