As proclaimed by the trendy totebags we handed out at this year’s BEA, Abbeville‘s got its “Eye on India” this fall. That’s right, India. Did you really think you could burgeon into a rising world power, not to mention a major center of arts and culture, without us noticing? We hope not, because we’re celebrating your increasing prominence on the world’s stage—as we did once before in India: Journey Through the Heart of a Continent—with no less than three gorgeous new volumes. In increasing order of page count, they are:
– India Exposed: The Subcontinent A-Z. A whirlwind alphabetical tour of modern India with author-photographer Clive Limpkin as your guide. Highlights all the essential features of the country, from Army to Zebu. (Zebu!)
– Daughters of India: Art and Identity. Presents the stories of twenty contemporary Indian women who have followed various paths toward creative self-expression. Includes bountiful illustrations of their art and craftsmanship. From the stunning cover onward, a master class in style.
– Wonders of the Indian Wilderness. Another triumph of the epic Abbeville spirit that brought you Audubon’s Birds of America, this one poised—at 854 pages and a mammoth 14 lbs.—to become the king of the publishing jungle in October. Surveys the flora and fauna of India through the text and lens of author-photographer Erach Bharucha, arguing passionately for the conservation of the nation’s vanishing ecosystems. Contains perhaps the most plangent sentence of any Abbeville book: “The forests of Gir no longer reverberate with the roar of the lion, nor Kanha and the Sunderbans with that of the tiger.” This makes us want to draw on a pipe and stare sadly into a campfire.
All in all, it’s going to be a fall as colorful as the art, clothing, and wildlife of the country itself. In fact, we’re going to go ahead and declare 2008 the Year of India, and India itself one of our Countries of Style—a pantheon that also includes Italy, France, Japan, and all of the United States except the part that’s not New York.