Friday, December 30, 2022

Seven titles that celebrate underappreciated crafts

Aanchal Malhotra is a writer and oral historian from New Delhi, India. A co-founder of the Museum of Material Memory, Malhotra has written two nonfiction books on the human history and generational impact of the 1947 Partition, titled Remnants of Partition and In the Language of Remembering.

The Book of Everlasting Things is her debut novel.

At Electric Lit Malhotra tagged seven books "centering the ancient traditions and unique occupations endangered by a modernizing world," including:
Jadoowallahs, Jugglers and Jinns: A Magical History of India by John Zubrzycki [US title: Empire of Enchantment: The Story of Indian Magic]

One of my early childhood memories in India is of the magicians, puppeteers, and snake-charmers that attended our birthday parties. There are photographs of them making eggs appear and disappear in our hands, pulling doves from top hats, finding coins behind a cousin’s ear. India’s association with magic goes back centuries, and in this magnificent book, Australian writer, John Zubrzycki explores how “magic descended from the domain of the gods to become part of daily ritual and popular entertainment.” Highly imaginative and rich in detail, the 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 oddities.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Empire of Enchantment.

--Marshal Zeringue