Book Reviews | The Daily Star
  • Origins: A Memoir

    The Lebanese-born and Paris resident explores the notion of being an émigré. As he says, I seldom return to my country of origin, and then only when circumstances compel me to…almost always the death of a loved one.” Correspondingly, he is told “Here, families have

  • Farewell My Friend: A Review of Babu Bangladesh!

    Babu Bangladesh! looks at the times and places that the protagonist, Babu Abdul Majumdar inhabited. However, narrating Babu’s llife, the author Numair Atif Choudhury chronicles the political history of Bangladesh from its birth till the present time, or rather till his

  • On Becoming

    Do not judge a book by its cover; notwithstanding the glamorous becoming photo profile that graces this book. Do judge a book by its title. A more appropriate book title is hard to conceive of. Becoming in a single word summarises the passage of the extra-ordinary

  • Starstruck

    I see starlight on my walls in dark nights I see it on my windows.

  • Of Identity, Love, and Holy War: A Review of The Runaways

    Rightfully so, The Guardian calls it a timely novel. In The Runaways, the discourse on radicalization is fanned by the converging lives of three different young people as we, the readers, are flown from dusty, noise-filled, engine-breathing Karachi, gloomy Portsmouth, and rustic Varanasi to rubble-filled, war stricken Syria and Mosul.

  • Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?

    Is the Man Who is Tall Happy is pretty to look at. It is an animated documentary laying out a meandering conversation between two men (as of now, also free to stream on Youtube). We would call it an adda. The first is the interviewer himself, Michael Gondry, a

  • A Bibliophile’s Review of Bargain Buys

    Phobia and mania remain inexplicably internalised conditions. Such was my dilemma as I stood at the crossroad one Saturday morning waiting for my friend as she undertook her Saturday errands in Purley, Croydon, outside London. To my left, stood the Cat Protection

  • Wild Flowers in a Busy Street: A Review of Anabhyaser Dine

    When I started reading Anabhyaser Dine (Unaccustomed Days), I did not know much about the author but that also meant I was free from any preconceived image about the writer and in no obligation to subscribe to a preconceived notion.

  • On Intimations of Ghalib: Translations from the Urdu

    Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan (1797 – 1869), popularly known by his takhallus (pen name) Ghalib (conqueror), makes it difficult for writers to sum him up easily or definitively. He himself would probably have taken great and impish delight in that knowledge. In one of his ghazals he suggests (Shahid Alam

  • Truth Stranger than Fiction!

    Imagine a Japanese man in Dhaka in the first decade of the twentieth century bent on being employed in the town and ending up marrying a Bengali Brahmo woman, the daughter of a soap factory owner, who has offered him a job. Think of the woman later going to a village near Nagoya with her husband

  • It’s All Relative: Relative Truths

    However trite it may seem at first glance to call a book “It’s All Relative,” more layers are revealed on further examination of this collection of stories published by Bengal Publicationss. The title is perhaps an allusion to how stories bounce off each other, morphing into something different

  • A Bibliophile’s Review of Bargain Buys: The Life and Times of Hercule Poirot

    The Queen of detective fiction (1890-1976) was in 1971 bestowed the title - Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her contribution to literature by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As with the British reigning monarch, Agatha Christie’s reign continues uninterrupted.

  • Human, All too Human!

    For anyone harboring misgivings about Rabindranath Tagore but doing so with an open mind, as well as anyone who treasures his works but is realistic enough to know that though superhuman in some ways, he was human—all too human!—this is a must read book. Certainly, I found it unputdownable.

  • The Burden of Miracle in Poonachi: or the Story of a Black Goat

    Perumal Murugan, the Tamil writer who rose to fame with self-declaration of his death as an author following protests by the Right wing against his writing, has resurrected with a forceful new novel, Poonachi.

  • Azfar Hussain’s Dorshonakkhyan: Materialist Philosophy

    In Hegelian philosophy, the dialectical relation between appearance and reality is an important relationship. Marx brought this

  • An Anchorite’s Call to Reread Tagore

    Tagore is almost a century-old fixation with the Bengali-speaking world. A continual sprightly stream of books, writings and speeches

  • BANGABANDHU AND BANGLADESH: Correcting Contrives and Cunning Corridors

    Lamartine — that mediocre poet but cunning politician in France during the revolutions of 1848 — once remarked that history is a trick that we, the living, play upon the dead.

  • Ek Kishorir Juddhajatra : A Painful Tale Told Spontaneously

    It’s the tale of a teenage girl’s reminiscence of her journey from home country to a neighbouring country to take refuge during the devastating war of liberation in the year 1971, told by herself at the age of sixty.

  • Dreams & Shadows: Perspectives on Multifarious Issues

    “When white people commit acts of terrorism, we term them mentally ill. When governments commit acts of war and terrorism, we call it Foreign Policy. When a Muslim commits an act of terror, we call it terrorism.

  • Patna Blues: Travails of a Minority Community

    An enjoyable read, Abdullah Khan's debut novel, Patna Blues is a thought-provoking and moving work as well. It is a book mostly

  • History of Bangladesh: Early Bengal in Regional Perspectives- Vol. I and II

    History of Bangladesh: Early Bengal in Regional Perspectives (up to c. 1200 CE)- Vol. I & II, edited by renowned historians of ancient


    Lieutenant General Mohammad Aminul Karim is no stranger to the sea. His latest book, Geopolitics of the South China Sea in the Coming Decades, continues a streak explaining why we must give ocean-based rivalry more currency. Yet again he applies the discipline of his military training to the International Relations discipline, leaving readers, as every scholarly book should, both inquisitive and enlightened.

  • Sustainable English language teacher development at scale: Lessons from Bangladesh

    Externally-funded English language projects of different stripes are an integral part of Bangladeshi education. These projects come

  • The Boat People: Safety and its Downsides

    In the face of dehumanizing discrimination, insurgency is important, but not when it deviates towards inhumanity from humanity,

  • Ottegsahon: Caress Of The Muse

    The adage goes that almost every Bengali is born with poetry in his/her heart. Note the word - almost! There exists, blissfully, exceptions to this byword. Happily,

  • Kaiser Haq Presents Shaheed Quaderi to the Anglophone Readers

    Professor Kaiser Haq is not only Bangladesh's finest English language poets but one of the country's best translators as well. He translated Shamsur Rahman as early as 1985, when he was in his mid-thirties.


    I was scratching my head as I completed reading the first story in Wasi Ahmed's anthology of short stories entitled The Over Takers. I was scratching my head when I had finished the eleventh tale, also the last in the engrossing volume.

  • Lore of the Woman: The Bird Catcher and Other Stories

    A reader can perhaps assume from the back flap of Fayeza Hasanat's debut collection of short stories that the pieces revolve around a woman's position in society, familial relationships and identity that is constructed for her.

  • Not a Review, but Words of Heart: On Nausheen Eusuf's Not Elegy, But Eros

    Life is an elegy, written by time. The instinct of life itself is elegiac, for it always reminds us of fragmentations and jouissance. Life reminds us of things that “are gone into a world of light,” (as Eusuf writes in her poem,

  • White Tears: A New Look on Life

    White Tears is the fifth novel of Hari Kunzru who is a promising writer of the time, easily distinguishable for his consummate writing skills and imaginative boldness.