Books are the best companion in every situation. They are the gateway to a whole different world. Reading books is like taking a deep dive into authors’ creative vessels of creations. A creation that churns out from an individual’s own life experiences and knowledge. The world is full of such beautiful and interesting works of art. And, it takes a deeper dive to find extraordinary pearls from the ocean.
India is known for its rich and incredible culture. After every ten miles of a journey in India brings to you a different dialect, language, style, and taste. Indian literature in itself is pretty ancient and versatile. However, English Indian literature is not very old as it took off in 1930 with the work of the writers like Henry Louis Vivian Derozio and Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Rabindranath Tagore, and Sri Aurobindo, followed by R. K. Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand, and Raja Rao.
Here we share a list of the works from globally-acclaimed Indian writers, who have lately written in the English language to share their intellectual gifts with the world. This reading may help you in your reading journey by expanding your horizons a little further.
The White Tiger: A Novel by Aravind Adiga
Set in contemporary India, Arvind Adiga’s Man-Booker-Prize-winning debut novel has humorously captured the unspoken voice of many who live in “the darkness”. The novel describes India’s class struggle in a darkly humorous perspective through a retrospective narration from Balram Halwai, a village boy. The novel has made it to the New York Times bestseller list. At the age of 33, he was the second youngest writer. Adiga said, his novel “attempt to catch the voice of the men you meet as you travel through India — the voice of the colossal underclass.”
Nectar in a Sieve: A Novel by Kamala Markandaya
A 1954 novel by Kamala Markandaya, the book is set in India during a period of intense urban development. The title of the novel, ‘Nectar in a Sieve’ is taken from the 1825 poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Work Without Hope”. The novel is narrated by Rukmani, a woman from rural and impoverished India, who gets married to Nathan, a tenant farmer at the age of 12.
In the novel, the author describes the chronicle of her marriage till her husband dies. Rukmani comments, “Change I had known before, and it had been gradual. But the change that now came into my life, into all our lives, blasting its way into our village, seemed wrought in the twinkling of an eye.”
The Great Indian Novel: A Novel by Shashi Tharoor
When a fictional book is written by a renowned scholar, a former international diplomat, who himself is serving as a member of the Indian Parliament since 2009, then surely the outcome must be exciting.
The book, published in 1956 recreates and recasts the Hindu epic, Mahabharata in line with India’s political struggle for independence from Great Britain. The post-independence period has also been discussed with great satire depicting the weaknesses of Indians and the agony of British rulers.
Train to Pakistan: A Novel by Khushwant Singh
Written by an Indian author, lawyer, diplomat, journalist, and politician. This historical novel was released in 1956. The work highlights the events of the great partition of British India. The book focuses more on the plight of people who had to migrate from Pakistan to India or vis-a-vis.
The events have been described in the light of human loss and its horrors that has been faced by many. The blame cannot be put in one’s basket.
“Muslims said the Hindus had planned and started the killing. According to the Hindus, the Muslims were to blame. The fact is, both sides were killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped”
Palace of Illusions: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The work is led and narrated by a woman character, Draupadi from the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association summarizes the plot as “Smart, resilient, and courageous Panchaali, born of fire, marries all five of the famously heroic Pandava brothers, harbors a secret love, endures a long exile in the wilderness, instigates a catastrophic war, and slowly learns the truth about Krishna, her mysterious friend.”
“Love comes like lightning and disappears the same way. If you are lucky, it strikes you right. If not, you’ll spend your life yearning for a man you can’t have.”
The Guide: A Novel by R.K Narayana
Written in 1958, like R.K Narayan’s other works, the novel is set in a fictional town in South India, Malgudi. The book had been crafted into a Bollywood movie, casting great actor, Dev Anand.
It’s a story of a tour guide, who initially was corrupt, with his life experiences and events, he gradually became a spiritual guide and later the greatest holy man. For this work of fiction, Narayan won the 1960 Sahitya Akademi Award for English, by the Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters.
“But you are not my wife. You are a woman who will go to bed with anyone who flatters your antics. That’s”
In Custody: A Novel by Anita Desai
A novel released in 1984 was set in Delhi, India, and written by Indian American Author Anita Desai. The novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1984 as well. The work’s main character Devan leads an ordinary mundane life, and how he finds meaning in his life. The book is a sensitive portrayal of human nature. A brilliant story describing the gradual loss of the graduality of culture and tradition in the face of modernity. The work highlights the complexity of human relationships in the quest for individuality.
The God of Small Things: A Novel by Arundhati Roy
The Booker Prize winner novel expresses the childhood difficulties of two fraternal twins, along with their parents and their extended family. The book narrates how small things affect our behaviors and lives. Indian writer and activist, Roy’s first novel expose the caste system and more deep-rooted problems of Indian culture.
A Suitable Boy: A Novel by Vikram Seth
Published in 1993, the novel is one of the longest novels published in a single volume. It is one of the acclaimed works of Vikram Seth, set in the post-partition and after-independence era in India. The work details the life of four families and covers various aspects of the time through the lead role of Latta, whose mother is keen to find a suitable boy for her daughter. Her character depicts how women were and even till today are not free to make independent choices.
The Last Song of Dusk: A Novel by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi
The novel describes the story of four extraordinary lives. The work has the potential to create an impact that will stay for a longer period of time even when you have finished reading the book. It is Shanghvi’s debut novel, which can emancipate deep human emotions of the feelings of joy and sorrows in anyone’s heart.