Naulakhi Kothi, Ali Akbar Natiq, translated from the Urdu by Naima Rashid

William returns to Hindustan after eight long years in England as the newly appointed assistant commissioner of Jalalabad in pre-Partition Punjab. He dreams of returning to his “home” in the idyllic Naulakhi Kothi, the titular bungalow built by his grandfather, but an irreversible turn of events awaits him, which changes not only his destiny but that of the land forever.

For Now, It Is Night: Stories, Hari Krishna Kaul, translated from the Kashmiri by Kalpana Raina, Tanveer Ajsi, Gowhar Fazili, and Gowhar Yaqoob

Hari Krishna Kaul, one of the very best modern Kashmiri writers, published most of his work between 1972 and 2000. His short stories, shaped by the social crisis and political instability in Kashmir, explore – with an impressive eye for detail, biting wit, and deep empathy – themes of isolation, individual and collective alienation, corruption, and the social mores of a community that experienced a loss of homeland, culture, and language.

In these pages, we will find: friends stuck forever in the same class at school while the world changes around them; travellers forced to seek shelter in a battered, windy hostel after a landslide; parents struggling to deal with displacement as they move away from Kashmir with their children, or loneliness as their children leave in search of better prospects; the cabin fever of living through a curfew; and more.

Won’t You Stay, Radhika?, Usha Priyamvada, translated from the Hindi by Daisy Rockwell

After her widowed father marries a younger woman, Radhika’s world falls apart. She feels betrayed – the emotional and intellectual bond that she had forged with him since the early death of her mother breaks with that sudden marriage. To escape the unbearable situation at home – the growing rift between her and her father – Radhika moves to Chicago to pursue a Master’s in Fine Arts.

She returns to India two years later, burdened by a sense of alienation and homesickness, only to realise that while nothing had changed in her country, everything had. The family that she had longed to be reunited with barely acknowledges her arrival. The sense of belonging is missing, leaving her in “a universal unbelonging”. As days pass, Radhika is paralysed with ennui, which tinges all her relationships – romantic or filial. So she lies on her bed, bored, immobile, and uninspired…

This is Salvaged: Stories, Vauhini Vara

In a world defined by estrangement, where is communion to be found? The characters in This Is Salvaged search fervently for meaning through one another:

A young girl reads the encyclopedia to her elderly neighbor who is descending into dementia…
A pair of teenagers seek intimacy as phone-sex operators…

One sister consumes the ashes of another…

And, in the title story, an experimental artist takes on his most ambitious project: constructing a life-size ark according to the Bible’s specifications…

Hot Blood, Cold Blood: Tartan Noir Meets Kolkata Crime, edited by Abir Mukherjee

Scotland and Bengal. Two lands, and two cultures with ties that go back centuries. Hot Blood Cold Blood: Tartan Noir Meets Kolkata Crime brings together some of the most impressive established, world-famous authors and exciting new talent from both the Highlands of Scotland and the heat of the Ganges delta. The themes of relationships, and wrongs committed, between husbands and wives, resonate across cultures while others highlight the contrasts between the two nations. The stories not only entertain but provide an insight into two very different societies, whether it be the familial, honour-bound world of the Bengali middle class with its emphasis on rank and the petty squabbles that go with it; or the cold, hard, windswept environment of life in the cities of central Scotland.

Minor Disturbances at Grand Life Apartments, Hema Sukumar

Grand Life Apartments is a middle-class apartment block surrounded by lush gardens in the city of Chennai. It is the home of Kamala, a pious, soon-to-be-retired dentist who spends her days counting down to the annual visits from her daughter who is studying in the UK. Her neighbour, Revathi, is a 32-year-old engineer who is frequently reminded by her mother that she has reached her expiry date in the arranged marriage market. Jason, a British chef, has impulsively moved to India to escape his recent heartbreak in London.

The residents have their own complicated lives to navigate, but what they all have in common is their love of where they live, so when a developer threatens to demolish the apartments and build over the gardens, the community of Grand Life Apartments is brought even closer together to fight for their beautiful home.