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Khooni Vaisakhi by Nanak Singh

The same grief and pain they shared
Each bound by sorrow same, my friends.
Then a sight most wondrous was seen
It left us amazed and awed, my friends.
'Ya Hussain!' cried out the Hindus and Sikhs
As Muslims echoed 'Ram Ram!', my friends.
And thus they reached the graveyard together.
Nanak Singh, who miraculously survived the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh, wrote about it in its aftermath. His poem was suppressed by the #British and then lost for decades. It's now been reprinted in a new English translation by his grandson, Navdeep Suri, published alongside the original Punjabi transliterated into the Devanagiri script, and accompanied by a few essays including one by a descendant of Rowlatt who had played a significant role in triggering the events which led to the atrocity. The text of the poem  sparse saying no more than needs to be said to convey what must be communicated.

The Corset by Laura Purcell

You can live your life through a piece of sewing; that’s what people don’t realise. You can ply your needle with any emotion in the human heart and the thread will absorb it.
The stories we tell ourselves to make sense of the world can sometimes be so much more damaging to ourselves than the truth as a young girl who's convinced herself that she's a murderess learns too late, as a young woman who thinks well of her father also learns. Lies, even if they portray us in an unfavorable light, even if they might get us hanged, can seem preferable to the truth, especially when the truth is that we have little control over the course of our lives. Lies, then, can be a comfort.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Laughter, conversation, music – all these things felt like relics, activities her ancestors may have adopted, long ago, but carried no relevance for her. She looked back at the desk.
The mind seeks to shield itself from trauma, and pure evil can take the form of friendship as a widow learns when the silent companions -- part sculpture and part paintng: cut-outs once popular in 17th century Netherlands -- in her husband's ancestral home seem to hound her, creating a trail of corpses and priming the widow herself for the gallows.

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

It became clear that resting every time she felt sick was not an option: she couldn’t stop participating in life altogether. She just had to live with it. [....] Wasn’t that just what women did, withstood physical pain in silence – had IUDs fitted, period pains, morning sickness, abortions and didn’t talk about it?
Stress plays on us in strange ways, and it isn't always easy to know if illness is psychosomatic or if it could perhaps be caused by the unknowable. All that the woman portrayed here knows is that she's been ill ever since she shifted into a new house, her husband's dream house. He rationally explains away the inexplicable, and sometimes the seemingly inexplicable does have a rational explanation. When it doesn't, he seems to wish away anomalies which could interfere with his world view. And, in the end, although the house is clearly a problem, it isn't entirely clear whether it is the house itself or its people that need attention.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

People are rotten everywhere you go. They're no good. You want to see a very bad man? Make an ordinary man successful beyond his imagination. Let's see how good he is when he can do whatever he wants.
A multi-generational saga about a family of Koreans in Japan which keeps coming back to the central theme of how you cannot escape who you are. You cannot escape your ancestors or your ethnicity. No matter what you do or where you are out how much money you have or how you choose to live your life, they will be visited upon you at times you least expect and, sometimes, in ways that are terrifying. Not everyone survives knowing who they are, and those who do are often left with a heavy burden to bear. And along the way, each one is forced to confront the fact that life is finite and no-one is indispensable.

The Hollow Tree by James Brogden

If there is an afterlife, it exists in the stories told about us by those we leave behind, in the memories of those who loved us, who pass those stories on, laughing at the recollection of the times we made asses of ourselves, and crying at the recollection of the times we hurt them. .... The highest respect we can pay to those we love is to remember them honestly, with all their flaws and talents, and tell each other the stories of why we love them.
In telling the tale of how the identity of a woman who died trapped in the hollow of a tree trunk is discovered, this novel, filled with the supernatural, explores how much of life and death is, in fact, within our control, and how so much of who we are is determined by how we are thought of. Each figment creates a different persona and we are each many people all at once, the book suggests.

House of Spines by Michael Malone

Few of the words made any sense to him. They were just a jumble of black marks on the page, and eventually he gave up, dropped the book onto the floor, turned on his side and stared blankly at the back of the red leather sofa inches from his face. Unable to lie still, he turned on his back and shifted across the sofa so that his head was hanging off. From this vantage point he looked over at the stacks of books. For some reason, today, they had failed to work their magic on him. He looked up the rows and noticed that from this angle the amount of each row of books he could see got smaller and smaller as they stretched up to the top, and there all he could see was about an inch of book. He turned his head slightly to see a top row that was bound in a light-tan leather, and it occurred to him that each book top was like the knuckle of a vertebrae. He sat up, head reeling. He could see bones everywhere. He was living in a house of spines.
Abuse affects generation after generation, those…