NCW Book Club: recommended reads for fans of Abir Mukherjee
If you enjoyed A Rising Man, we think you’ll love these books too

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee along with us here at NCW. There is still time to look back over the conversation via our Discord community, and explore our and explore our writing prompts and questions for readers to help you get the most out of reading our chosen book.

If you’ve finished the book and would love something similarly brilliant to add to your ‘To Be Read’ pile, why not try one of these recommended reads? We’ve compiled the following list of books in a wide array of genres, all of which continue to explore Abir’s themes of colonial history, outsider perspectives, and gripping crime narratives.

Our Book Club choice for June and July 2021, is In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein. Find out more about how to join in here >>

More by Abir Mukherjee

More in the Wyndham & Bannerjee series (Vintage)

A Rising Man is just the start of the exciting Wyndham and Bannerjee series. If you want to find out what happens next to Sam and Surrender-Not, you can read on in A Necessary Evil, Smoke and Ashes, Death in the East and The Shadows of Men.

Abir Mukherjee at City of Literature Festival, May 021

Catch up with Abir’s new commission at City of Literature Festival, which took place in May. You can read his essay “A Change In The Air” and listen to a podcast featuring Abir and Ayisha Malik, and watch as he discusses the commission with Derek Owusu and Heather Parry. Abir was commissioned as part of NCW’s Open Doors project. 

A different perspective

 width=Lote by Shola von Reinhold (Jacaranda)

Mathilda deliberately keeps her acquaintances at arm’s length, ready to Escape to a new circle, a new life, at any time. But when she takes up an artist’s residency in the town of Dun, she finds a series of chance connections that draw her into unlikely new friendships. Gloriously inventive, queer, and celebrating Black modernisms, Lote introduces the singular voice of an exciting debut writer. 


The Chameleon by Sam Fisher (Salt)

John, the narrator of The Chameleon, is a book, but not just any book: he’s every book. As he narrates the story of a murder in Moscow fifty years ago, we are drawn into a web of relationships and stories unlike any other. Combining elements of spy fiction, romance, and the magic of books, John’s view of the world will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

‘Satirical, thought-provoking and incredibly creative.’

Shy Radicals by Hamja Ahsan (Book Works)

In this one-of-a-kind book, Hamja Ahsan makes the case for introversion. Taking the form of manifestos, interviews and campaign documents, Ahsan playfully questions the ‘Extrovert World Order’ to make a space where shyness and neurodiversity can come to the fore. Satirical, thought-provoking and incredibly creative, if you enjoy experimental literature then this book deserves a place on your TBR. 

Legacies of colonialism

 width=Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India by Shashi Tharoor (Hurst)

In this best-selling book, Shashi Tharoor demolishes the many sugar-coated myths about British rule in India. With an incisive look at the violence and racism inherent to the ‘rule of law’ imposed by Britain, Tharoor shows how Britain’s Industrial Revolution was founded on the decimation of India’s economy, an act of exploitation that was to be felt for decades to come.

Insurgent Empire by Priyamvada Gopal (Verso)

In Insurgent Empire, Cambridge academic Priyamvada Gopal traces how people across the world took part in active resistance to British colonial rule. Crucially, Gopal also explores how anti-colonial struggle in the empire shaped the discourse and campaigns of dissent within Britain itself. Unflinching, complex and humane, this book offers an honest appraisal of the legacies of empire throughout the world and in the UK we know today. 

Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga (Pan Macmillan) 

Book Club member Lois recommends David Olusoga’s history as a great book for those wanting to look into the broader topic of race and empire. In this multi-award-winning book, Olusoga traces the history of Black Britons from the Roman period to the present day, showing the genesis and legacies of empire that continue to shape our society.

Compelling crime fiction

 width=The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood (Quercus)

Jimmy is a veteran struggling with mental health issues and living on the streets when he overhears an ominous conversation between two men. Soon enough, the story hits the papers: Jimmy is sure he knows something, but the police won’t believe him. Determined to help in any way he can, Jimmy teams up with Carrie, whose father has gone missing, and won’t rest until he helps uncover the truth.


You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood (Penguin)

You Don’t Know Me is a crime novel that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it. Novel in concept and full of insightful detail gleaned from the author’s work as a criminal defence barrister, this is a book in which we think we know whodunnit… until we hear the defendant’s side of the story.

‘This is a book in which we think we know whodunnit… until we hear the defendant’s side of the story.’

Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah (Hodder & Stoughton)

The latest crime novel from the multi-talented Sophie Hannah will be the perfect choice for all fans of psychological thrillers. Beth can’t help but think about her past friendship with Flora; they haven’t seen each other in years. But when Beth surreptitiously parks her car outside Flora’s house, she soon realises that there is something very wrong about Flora’s family, and her mysterious children who, in all their years apart, don’t seem to have grown up at all. 

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