Literature appeals to one and all; even those who do not fancy themselves as readers. It can be in the form of poetry, articles, novels, plays or newspapers. Reading proves as an escape from the hardships of your own life and allows you to escape into the world of the novel. All countries, religions, ethnicities and age groups have certain literature they think to be their own. Although the history of Indian English literature is not very old, it is still very rich and has received global acclaim at an amazingly fast rate. Today, we bring to you seven books written by Indian authors that are a must read!
1. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Midnight’s Children has received wide acclaim having won the Booker Prize in 1981 as well as the Booker of Bookers Prize, which honors the best book among all the Booker Prize awardees, twice (1993 and 2008). The novel is about the journey of India to independence from British Rule and the partition, and is set in many parts of India (such as Kashmir, Agra and Mumbai) and also makes note of important historic events in the backdrop. Having been included in the list of the top best hundred novels of all time, this book is a must-read.
2. The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor
Sit with a dictionary and revel in the brilliant writing of one of India’s most learned minds as Tharoor recreates the Hindu epic Mahabharat in this satirical novel. Keeping the Indian Independence Movement and the years that followed it as its main context, it has proven to be one of the most interesting pieces of literature in contemporary English Indian literature category. You may think that you are already very familiar with the Indian independence era, but reading about the same once again with the figures from the freedom struggle and politics being recreated as mythological figures of the two thousand year old epic is never going to be a bad idea!
3. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
The highly acclaimed novel follows the journey of four families who are living in the post independence and post partition era in India. It highlights the struggles of Mrs. Rupa Mehra to find a ‘suitable boy’ to marry her daughter. It highlights issues like the Hindu-Muslim tension, post partition problems and politics, caste issues as well as class dynamics and the ever changing relations between/within families. A huge text expanding across one thousand three hundred and forty nine pages, the novel is one of the longest Indian English literature books printed as a single volume.
4. Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
This history based book has been one of the most widely read and acclaimed novels ever since its release in 1956. It brings a much called for human viewpoint to the British India’s partition into India and Pakistan. Until then, almost all accounts of the partition had been made n terms of its political aspects. Singh chose to recount the event via the use of human loss, pain and horror. The book is an emotional and essential read for people looking to explore or expand their understanding of Indian literature and Indian history.
5. White Tiger by Arvind Adiga
Having won the Man Booker Prize, Adiga’s first ever novel has been very widely revered for its new and unique look at the social class problems and contradictions in India. Told from the exciting and thrilling first-person perspective of Balram Halwai, it tells his tale as a young chap coming from a very poor and small village in India who shifts to the capital city of Delhi and begins working as a chauffeur for the rich.
6. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
This debutant novel not only received widespread acclaim but also bagged the Booker Prize in 1997. Exploring one of the most understated claims of our everyday lives, the novels narrates how it is the small things that matter and affect lives. The story follows the lives of a set of fraternal twins in Kerala in the 1960s. Being an activist herself, Roy delves into issues of communism, casteism, laws about love and familial relationships as the characters move through life.
7. Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
This novel retells the epic Mahabharata from the side of Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas. Being one of the central and key characters, the story had never been studied from her perspective—something Banerjee overcomes in this award winning book. Draupadi being married to all the Pandavas and being with them through rule to exile provides a unique angle to the study of why the epic war took place and what motives everyone, including her, had behind the war.
By Eerishika Pankaj