Shelf Control is a feature I picked up from Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies and is all about celebrating the books already on your TBR. Each Wednesday, one picks a book from one’s TBR writes a post about it, usually what the book is all about, when and where you got it, what made you want to read it, and such.
This week I’ve picked a nonfiction title, one themed around the Second World War–Farthest Field by Raghu Karnad.
What it is all about: This is a memoir that the author has written about the experiences in the Second World War of his grandfather and two granduncles (Bobby, Ganny, and Manek). The author has been seeing photos of the three in his grandmother’s house–one a pilot with India’s airforce, one a doctor, and the third, who went in the battle from Burma to Iraq. This is the story of a family caught in a changing world, swept up by its violence, a story of loyalties tested, innocence eroded, and of romances devastated. This is a story of the author’s family but also of a par of history that isn’t focused on too much, India and Indian soldiers in the Second World War. It takes us to the home life they left behind, and the battlefields that the war took them to–India, Burma, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt among them.
My edition: Fourth Estate, paper back, 2017.
Where and When I got it: I’ve had this on my shelves for a few months now, though I don’t remember the exact time. And I didn’t actually buy the book myself. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of it. Some one actually gave this to my father as a present, and I picked it up from him to read since it sounded so interesting.
Why I want to read it: It’s history! This is a genre I enjoy reading of course, and more than that this is about a facet of history I don’t really know much about, and which I definitely am looking forward to reading. This is as I gather from a few reviews I looked at, as well as from a glance at the prologue, not one that can be clearly classified as non-fiction as the author has fictionalised some aspects–the thoughts, feelings of characters etc. I don’t think I’d really mind this–I mean why pigeon-hole everything? (Even Dava Sobel’s A More Perfect Heaven, which was essentially non-fiction, had a segment in the middle imagining a scene where Copernicus is convinced to have his work published, and while more clearly compartmentalised, I quite enjoyed reading that but as well). So looking forward to reading this one soon!
Do you like reading historical fiction/non-fiction set in the Wars? What are some of the books on the theme that have impacted you the most? I can’t really use the word enjoy for this period in history (though I can think of one book that I did–a Nancy Mitford) as there is so much pain, so much that disturbs you, and yet this is one facet of history that you can’t afford to ignore.