The Low­land

Friday - - Leisure -

More than 100 years af­ter Ed­ward Lear’s poem The Owl And The Pussy­cat was writ­ten, Gruf­falo au­thor Ju­lia Don­ald­son takes a shot at a se­quel.

As with many of the Bri­tish for­mer chil­dren’s lau­re­ate’s pre­vi­ous books, The Fur­ther Adventures Of The Owl And The Pussy-cat But as they grow older, their lives be­gin to take dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions. Sub­hash moves to the US to do a PhD and Udayan be­comes drawn to the rad­i­cal po­lit­i­cal Nax­alite move­ment rav­agingWest Ben­gal. The reper­cus­sions of Udayan’s ac­tions have dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences and trans­form the fu­tures of his wife, his brother and their par­ents.

The per­sonal sto­ries are threaded skil­fully into the his­tor­i­cal back­drop. The Low­land, which has been short­listed for the Man Booker Prize for 2013, raises thought­pro­vok­ing ques­tions about fam­ily com­mit­ments, per­sonal ful­fil­ment and the price of ideal­ism.

takes us to the sub­ur­ban streets of 1960s Cal­cutta in­West Ben­gal, at a time when In­dia is get­ting to grips with as­pi­ra­tions of wealth and mod­ern life­styles amid the re­al­i­ties of cor­rup­tion and class strug­gle.

Brothers Sub­hash and Udayan lead rel­a­tively care­free lives as mid­dle-class Ben­gali boys, play­ing by the hy­acinth-strewn ponds. DCI Anna Travis is one of those fic­tional char­ac­ters who has al­ready made the tran­si­tion from the writ­ten page to the small screen. So when Lynda La Plante, re­garded as Bri­tain’s First Lady of the crime thriller, puts DCI Travis on the case, there are sure to be fire­works.

This lat­est bat­tle for the glam­orous de­tec­tive is a tale that crosses the At­lantic, from theWest Indies to Lon­don and to the US, pit­ting her wits against one of the most cun­ning crim­i­nals she has ever come up against.

As well as bat­tling to un­ravel the main crime, Travis also has to

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