In 1937, on the banks of the Ravi River in Lahore, the 10-year-old protagonist of my novel found himself affected by smells in a way no other person was. On that day, he takes office as his uncle’s apprentice in his family’s perfume shop and begins Samir Viji’s formal education. Against the backdrop of the 1947 division, he falls in love with the illuminator of the manuscript, Firdous Kahn. Their days were full of perfume and paper, smell and lustful impulses.
Eternal Book is essentially a love story, but also tells about characters who continue to practice traditional crafts such as perfumery, distilling, calligraphy and lighting, papermaking, Ayurvedic medicine, carpet weaving, leatherworking and tanning in a changing world. I’m here. My own training as a traditional printmaker has forced me to turn my attention to a now rare, highly complex and labor-intensive field that has unfortunately been swallowed up by modern automated technology. It may have become like this. So, to celebrate an underappreciated art form, ancient traditions, and a unique profession, I present a list of books that conveyed the texture of my writing.
earth spinner Anuradha Roy
earth spinner It expertly revisits themes of history, memory, mythology, love, and more that are well known in Roy’s novels. Elango is a Hindu rickshaw driver and potter whose dream is to build a terracotta army and whose crime is to fall in love with Zhora, the granddaughter of a blind Muslim calligrapher. His next-door neighbor, Sarah, has blended into his life as his apprentice and is both a witness and a chronicler of his day-to-day life. One day, a stray dog named Chinna appeared and took over the potter. When the terracotta horse is completed, the community is enraged and her pair of lovers go into exile. Told in alternating first and third person, traveling between India and England, the novel draws on the fundamental forces of rain and fire, the strength of the earth, and the physical qualities of craftsmanship.
The Amber-Eyed Rabbit: A Hidden Legacy Edmund de Waal
British ceramist Edmund de Waal inherits the 264-piece collection of his late uncle Iggy nesting, Japanese wood and ivory carvings used as ornaments on kimonos are no larger than matchboxes. It is a “very large collection of very small objects” and includes, among other creatures, an amber-eyed hare, a tiger that turns into a growl, a man sitting with a gourd between his legs, a serpentine There are rats with tails, signatures and signatures, and so on. Pieces of paper are glued to the bottom, others have faded patina and dull details. This legacy leads de his Waal from Odessa to Paris and from Vienna to Tokyo. Part memoir, part detective story, it absorbs centuries of art history, national and family archives, memories and secrets, and in the 19th century these ornaments were brought to his ancestors in France. de Waal reveals how and why it came to be acquired by art historian Charles Ephrussi. century, and their tumultuous journey thereafter.
Corpse Chronicle Cyrus Mistry
This was the first book I read after moving to Montreal, where it is bitterly cold most of the year. Despite the novel’s seemingly morbid subject matter, I found the deliberate silence of its prose to resonate very much with me. There is an invisible community, Candias, whose job is to collect the bodies of the deceased from all over the city on foot, perform the final rites on them, and transport them to the Tower of Silence. He falls in love with a certain Sepideh and decides to adopt this profession. Despite this being one of the noblest services a Parsis can perform for his faith, and an age-old occupation, the Parsi are not touched because of contact with the dead. and often exiled. Compiling the landscape of pre-independence Bombay and the underrepresented tales of the clerics and corpse bearers of the Zolastrian faith, Mistry’s narrative is his one of intimacy and tenderness, and it has struck me many times. closed the book and pondered it. Melancholy.
printmaker’s daughter Catherine Govier
During the 19th-century Edo period in Japan, when artists and writers were suppressed by the shogunate, printmaker Katsushika Hokusai lived with his daughter Oe, The Great Wave It will be legendary one day. At the time, however, they lived in poverty and traveled frequently to avoid arrest. Through his interviews, Govier imagines the life of O-Ei, who respects his father more than anything else. She worked in his studio all her life and may have been behind some of his most famous works. Ukiyo-e The same goes for family, loyalty, and where women belong, contrary to the traditions of woodcuts and printmaking. In the final chapter Daiei says, “I am the brush. I am the line. I am the color”—but this is weighed down by the final confession, “I am her, Hokusai’s daughter.”
A Lost Generation: Documenting India’s Dying Occupations Nidhi Duggar Kundalia
From the Baiga women of the jungles of Jharkhand Godona Tattoos inscribed on their bodies by professional mourners called Luda Alice Deep in the Rajasthan desert, on the banks of the Ganges in Haredwar, rolled up to resemble the bark of a dazzling tree, from a Hindu priest who keeps genealogical records, Urdu scribes and Kartib A book by Nidhi Dugar Kundalia of Old Delhi chronicles 11 dying occupations in India. This book is by no means exhaustive, but it is a great starting point for the reader, written with the atmospheric joy of restoring an endangered world.
The Palace of Fragrance: The Secret History of Mary Antoinette’s Perfumer Written by Elisabeth de Feydeau, translated by Jane Rizzop
Elisabeth de Feydeau, professor at the Versailles Perfumery School, draws on Jean-Louis Faljeon’s treatise to create the young queen’s perfume since her birth in Montpellier in 1748, into a family of perfumers. Follow his life up until he became a teacher. Mary Antoinette. During her fourteen years until her revolution swept her country, he served her, crafted her luxurious, bespoke fragrances and pomades, and documented her extravagant spending. Rather than provide a broad historical context, the book tells of the intimate court life and relationship between the perfumer and the Queen. Enchanting beauty secrets, ingredients, luxury goods and grooming products (lemon her pomade, carnation her powder, perfume sachet, beauty her spot and cream selection to purify and whiten the queen’s complexion) spends a considerable amount of time on The back of the book contains notes on Fargeon’s palette and his method of extracting ingredients. Interestingly, one of his floral his formulas survived the revolution and is now called “Black Jade”.
Jaduwallahs, Jugglers and Jinn: A History of Indian Magic John Zubczykki
One of my childhood memories in India is of the magicians, puppeteers and snake charmers who attended our birthday party. There are pictures of showing and disappearing eggs in our hands, pulling pigeons out of top hats, and finding coins behind our cousin’s ears. The relationship between India and magic goes back centuries. In this epic book, Australian author John Zbrczycki explores how “magic descended from the divine realm and became part of daily rituals and popular pastimes.” Highly imaginative and rich in detail, this book draws on archival records, newspaper articles, interviews and memoirs of Western and Indian magicians and illusionists to culminate in an extraordinary cultural history of queerness. .