New Delhi, 2021: Penguin Random House India is proud to announce the acquisition of two new titles by critically acclaimed contemporary writer Anees Salim. These new novels will be published under the Hamish Hamilton imprint in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
The Odd Book of Baby Names traces the last days of one of the last kings in India, an eccentric and embittered man who is rumoured to have fathered more than one hundred children. It is a work of historical fiction that progresses through the recollections of nine of his children, seven of them illegitimate, and most of them unknown to each other.
The Bellboy is about a seventeen-year-old bellboy from an island that’s slowly disappearing off the face of the earth. As he grapples with change, the novel takes us, with Salim’s trademark ingenuity, into the spaces that we often only think of as holiday paradises.
Talking about his two new novels, Anees Salim says, ‘These two books are entirely different in terms of craft and characterization. While The Odd Book of Baby Names has a historic background and is narrated by multiple voices, The Bellboy is set in contemporary India and tells the story of a boy who is losing his way in the world. As in my previous works, I find a bit of myself in both these books.’
Manasi Subramaniam, Executive Editor and Head of Rights, Penguin Random House India, who acquired the books, says, ‘Anees Salim is among the finest living writers we have in the English language. His wry sense of humour and his razor-sharp wit belie his uncanny understanding of human frailty. He is the master of the tragicomedy, and I can’t wait to share his two new books with the world.’
Anees Salim’s published works include Vanity Bagh (winner of The Hindu Literary Prize for Best Fiction 2013), The Blind Lady’s Descendants (winner of the Raymond Crossword Book Award for Best Fiction 2014 and the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award 2018) and The Small-town Sea (winner of the Atta Galatta-Banaglore Literature Festival Book Prize for Best Fiction 2017). His works have been translated into several languages.