‘Local ke liye vocal’, but make it books too! When the topic of books and novels arises, Indian authors are often neglected. However, there are a lot of gems, more than two-three decades old, written in English or translated, by a lot of veteran authors of Indian origin.
Here are a few books which have stood the test of time and continued to charm its readers with its meaningful and rich literary value.
The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
A beautifully crafted and clever story which talks about intense themes like love, madness, social stigma, and class, set in Kerala, in the year 1969.
“That’s what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.”
The Guide – R.K. Narayan
A book that will leave you amazed and mesmerized by its ability to portray Indian storytelling and culture, without seeming overbearing.
“It seems to me that we generally do not have a correct measure of our own wisdom.”
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
A love story at its core, the novel is a homogeneous mixture of four different families, ethnicities, and hopes. The tale follows their ambitions, and is rich in imagination.
“I sometimes seem to myself to wander around the world merely accumulating material for future nostalgias.”
The Great Indian Novel – Shashi Tharoor
A satirical retelling of the epic Mahabharata with disguised yet recognizable political figures of pre- and post-Indian independence.
“India is not an underdeveloped country but a highly developed one in an advanced state of decay.”
In Custody – Anita Desai
A touching and amazingly crafted story that follows the life of a small town professor from north India, and the hardships and longings that he has.
“Before time crushes us into dust we must record our struggle against it. We must engrave our name in the sand before the wave comes to sweep it away and make it a part of the ocean.”
Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri
This book navigates the Indian traditions and the completely different world faced by the characters who pursue love beyond cultural generational boundaries.
“Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.”
The Blue Umbrella – Ruskin Bond
A short story that a light read and additionally emphasizes the values of empathy and sharing amongst people.
“She was always ready with her smile, and would willingly have lent it to anyone who was feeling unhappy.”
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Torn between entertaining, progressive and informative, the story follows the birth of 1,001 children born as the clock strikes midnight, along with the birth of the post-colonized India.
“I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am anything that happens after I’m gone which would not have happened if I had not come.”
An Obedient Father – Akhil Sharma
A smoothly written book tackling the ugliest of topics – abuse. Often described as an easy-to-read, difficult book, it will definitely cause your jaw to drop.
“In the beginning I felt no shame for what I was doing, because I was not harming anyone.”
By Yukta Baid