To all you Bookworms, Booklovers here, PAY ATTENTION!
If you are still confused or don’t know where to start in Indian literature, this might help you. In this post, I am presenting you with a list of some of the best and the most loved books written by Indian Authors. Land of World’s Greatest Epics, The Mahabharata and The Ramayana… Never Underestimate the Writing Skills of an Indian Author.
Following are the Books from Indian Authors that you should read. MUST TRY!
THE PALACE OF ILLUSIONS BY CHITRA BANERJEE DIVAKARUNI
The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half-history, half-myth, and wholly magical; narrated by Panchaali, the wife of the five Pandava brothers, we are — finally — given a woman’s take on the timeless tale that is the Mahabharata Tracing Panchaali’s life — from fiery birth and lonely childhood, where her beloved brother is her only true companion; through her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna; to marriage, motherhood and Panchaali’s secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands’ most dangerous enemy — The Palace of Illusions is a deeply human novel about a woman born into a man’s world — a world of warriors, gods and the ever manipulating hands of fate. ‘ A mythic tale brimming with warriors, magic and treachery.’ -Los Angeles Times. ‘A radiant entree into an ancient mythology . . . Charming and remarkable’. -Houston Chronicle. ‘A woman’s look at crime and punishment, loyalty, promises, love and vengeance . . . With The Palace of Illusions, Divakaruni has proven that her storytelling talents put her right up there with the best’ -Miami Herald
THE NAMESAKE BY JHUMPA LAHRI
Join Ashima in her journey through complex Indian situations
Namesake is the brainchild of Jhumpa Lahiri. The story unfolds with Ashima’s grandmother coming to know that Ashima is pregnant. She was very excited when she came to know this and extremely happy as well on the fact that she would have the opportunity to name the family’s first Sahib. As the story unfolds, Ashima and her husband Ashok have yet not decided a name for their baby until a letter arrives from their grandmother. Join Gogol as he faces the stigma of his name and the situations that he faces.
Ashima’s father sends a letter to Baby Boy Ganguli, actually putting up the name as ‘baby boy’. But the American bureaucracy demands a name. In a hurry, they put the name ‘Gogol’ not realizing the harsh consequences that this name would have in the future. As time passes, Gogol is raised in suburban America. As he grows, he finds his name ridiculous and is reluctant to us it. His awkward name twitches him. He decides to leave behind the inherited values of Bengali lifestyle and starts on his path to find a good life and comes face to face with conflicting loyalties, love and loss along the way.
Will Gogol survive the torture and make a name for himself?
Gogol finds his way through complex situations and still dreams of a perfect life. Grab the book to find out how he goes along his path and will he survive with the stigma of his name?
THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS BY ARUNDHATI ROY
Booker Prize winner ‘God of Small Things’ is a story about two children, Esthappen and Rahel. This was Arundhati Roy’s debut novel, in which she throws light on certain facets of life in Kerala, highlighting issues of caste system, Keralite Syrian Christian lifestyle and communism. Esthappen and Rahel at a very young age come to learn about horrifying truth of life, as they are being tortured and blamed for every misfortune. Their less than perfect life gets infected by unexpected events. Though the novel begins with Esthappen and Rahel, most of its part holds wider stories of the political events shaping the state, their parents and relatives. The darker undertones in the life of twins get more evident, as secrets, bitterness and lies destroy their world. The heat-aching story of two innocent young children will surely keep you hooked till the end and leave you searching for more.
THE WHITE TIGER BY ARAVIND ADIGA
Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2008 Meet Balram Halwai, the ‘white tiger’: servant, philosopher, entrepreneur, murderer… Born in a village in the dark heart of India, the son of a rickshaw puller, Balram is taken out of school and put to work in a teashop. As he crushes coal and wipes tables, he nurses a dream of escape. His big chance comes when a rich landlord hires him as a chauffeur for his son, daughter-in-law, and their two Pomeranian dogs. From behind the wheels of a Honda, Balram sees Delhi and begins to see how the Tiger might escape his cage. For surely any successful man must spill a little blood on his way to the top? The White Tiger is a tale of two Indias. Balram’s journey from the darkness of village life to the light of entrepreneurial success is utterly amoral, brilliantly irreverent, deeply endearing and altogether unforgettable
MALGUDI DAYS BY R.K. NARAYAN
The book Malgudi Days is a collection of short stories written by R.K. Narayan and published by Indian Thought Publications in India in the year 1943. Outside India the book was republished by Penguin Classics in 1982. Malgudi days is a collection of 32 fictional stories set in a small beautiful town called Malgudi in South India. Every story is based on the problems faced by nation in general during that era.
The Malgudi Days story has been applauded round the world. Actor and director, Late Shankar Nag had directed the televised series of stories of Malgudi Days in 1986. Film-maker Kavitha Lankesh has redirected the series which was telecasted in 2006. The Malgudi Days series was very popular, do read the book and got to know more about it. Powerful, magical portraits of all kinds of people and comprising stories written over almost forty years, Malgudi Days presents Narayan’s imaginary city vividly. On R. K. Narayan’s 108th birthday Google commemorated by featuring a Google Doodle showing him behind a copy of Malgudi Days in 2014.
A HUNDRED LITTLE FLAMES BY PREETI SHENOY
Sometimes, a journey back is a step forward.
When 26-year-old Ayan is sent to live with his grumpy old grandfather Gopal Shanker, in a tiny village, in Kerala, he is understandably devastated. What can a sleepy, idyllic village without even Internet connectivity offer a young man?
To make matters worse, Jairaj, Ayan’s domineering father has his own plans and is determined to have his way. Soon, Ayan has to come to terms with the hard realities of life and the blindness of greed as he and Gopal Shanker learn that life can sometimes unravel in unanticipated ways.
A young man, whose life lies ahead of him. An old man, whose life is all in the past. And a few months that change everything. A Hundred Little Flames is a charming account of a relationship across generations and also a meditative look at the issues of old people.
Preeti Shenoy’s foray into new fictional terrain is an absolute triumph!
THE ROOM ON THE ROOF BY RUSKIN BOND
A classic coming-of-age story which has held generations of readers spellbound!
Rusty, a sixteen-year-old Anglo-Indian boy, is orphaned and has to live with his English guardian in the claustrophobic European part in Dehra Dun. Unhappy with the strict ways of his guardian, Rusty runs away from home to live with his Indian friends. Plunging for the first time into the dream-bright world of the bazaar, Hindu festivals and other aspects of Indian life, Rusty is enchanted … and is lost forever to the prim proprieties of the European community.
Written when the author was himself seventeen, this moving story of love and friendship, with a new introduction and illustrations will be enjoyed by a whole new generation of readers
TRAIN TO PAKISTAN BY KHUSHWANT SINGH
The partition of India was one of the most dreadful times in the recent Indian history. Since 1950s, it has time and again been depicted in various media. However, while most of those focussed mainly on the socio-political causes and effects, the Train to Pakistan is a novel which has captured the essential human trauma and suffering in the face of such a terror and crisis.
The novel commences with a description of Mano Majra, a little village with Muslim and Sikh population that suddenly becomes a part of the border between Indian and Pakistan. An idyllic and peaceful village, Mano Majra resorted to love and harmony even at the face of all odds till external forces come and disrupted all the harmony.
The odds start when a train filled with dead bodies of Sikhs and Hindus arrive in Mano Majra. Riots and strikes reached a high with the Sikhs and Hindus being on one side and the Muslims on the other. Torn between them and their vested interests are two people—Juggut and Iqbal, the former being a criminal and the latter being a western educated fellow on a mission to reform the society. Also underlying it is a love story that transcends all religion and odds. Regarded as one of the most heart-rending testimonials of the partition of 1947, the Train to Pakistan is an ideal novel for those who wishes to learn more about India’s past and is looking for more than the socio-political scenario behind the partition.
A SUITABLE BOY BY VIKRAM SETH
‘Set in post-independence India, the novel follows for eighteen months or so four linked families in Calcutta, the province of Purva Pradesh and its capital Brahmpur, and the cities—Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow—trawled by the heroine’s mother in her search for a “suitable boy”… But the greatness of the novel, its unassailable truthfulness, owes less to research than to imagination, an instinctive knowledge of the human heart—with all its varieties of kindness and cruelty, its capacity for hurt… As with all the best books, one feels only dismay when the pages on the right of the tome start thinning out.’— The Observer
MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN BY SALMAN RUSHDIE
‘Midnight’s Children’ by the renowned author Sulman Rushdie is an epic novel that opens up with a child being born at midnight on 15th August, 1947, just at a time when India is achieving Independence from centuries of foreign British colonial rule.
Winner of Booker Prize, this book has been added in the list of Great Book of the 20th century and narrates the story of Saleem Siana and the times he lives with the newborn nation.
Divided in three parts, the novel begins with the story of Siani’s family and the various events that lead to India’s independence and eventually to partition. Born precisely at the midnight, Saleem was born with telepathic powers and later discovers that all the kids born in India between 12 A.M. and 1 A.M. are impregnated with the special power.
Using his telepathic powers, he assembles a conference with all kids to reflect upon the issues like culture, linguistic, religion and political differences to shape the nation. Highlighting the relation between father and son and a nation yet in its nascent stage, it is an enchanting family adventure with lots of human drama and shocking summoning.
The novel has also been adapted as a stage show by the Royal Shakespeare Company in the year 2003.
GHACHAR GHOCHAR BY VIVEK SHANBHAG
‘It’s true what they say – it’s not we who control money, it’s the money that controls us. When there’s only a little, it behaves meekly; when it grows, it becomes brash and has its way with us.’
From a cramped, ant-infested house to a spacious bungalow, a family finds itself making a transition in many ways. The narrator, a sensitive young man, is numbed by the swirl around him. All he can do is flee every day to an old-world cafe, where he seeks solace from an oracular waiter. As members of the family realign their equations and desires, new strands are knotted, others come apart, and conflict brews dangerously in the background.
Masterfully translated from the Kannada by Srinath Perur, Ghachar Ghochar is a suspenseful, playful and ultimately menacing story about the shifting consequences of success
RAAVAN- ENEMY OF ARYAVARTA BY AMISH TRIPATHI
WITHOUT THE DARKNESS, LIGHT HAS NO PURPOSE.
WITHOUT THE VILLAIN, WHAT WOULD THE GODS DO?
INDIA, 3400 BCE.
A land in tumult, poverty and chaos. Most people suffer quietly. A few rebel. Some fight for a better world. Some for themselves. Some don’t give a damn. Raavan. Fathered by one of the most illustrious sages of the time. Blessed by the Gods with talents beyond all. Cursed by fate to be tested to the extremes.
A formidable teenage pirate, he is filled with equal parts courage, cruelty and fearsome resolve. A resolve to be a giant among men, to conquer, plunder, and seize the greatness that he thinks is his right.
A man of contrasts, of brutal violence and scholarly knowledge. A man who will love without reward and kill without remorse.
This exhilarating third book of the Ram Chandra series sheds light on Raavan, the king of Lanka. And the light shines on darkness of the darkest kind. Is he the greatest villain in history or just a man in a dark place, all the time?
Read the epic tale of one of the most complex, violent, passionate and accomplished men of all time.
GODAN BY MUNSHI PREMCHAND
Godan, a story of stark realism is Premchand’s most outstanding work. It is his last completed novel which brings out the realistic interpretation of Indian village society. This is a story of people, hungry and semi starved, yet hopeful and optimistic in the truest spirit of the age it represent.
GITANJALI BY RABINDRANATH TAGORE
“Gitanjali, ” or Song Offerings, is a collection of poems translated by the author, Rabindranath Tagore, from the original Bengali. This collection won Tagore the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. He was the first Asian to win the honour. These poems are primarily devotional, with mystic aura and sublimated ecstasy. They are the thoughts of a seer; the perfect union of beauty and truth in poetry from the pen of the greatest poet of modern India. While introducing this small volume to the West, W. B. Yeats wrote: “Though the work of a supreme culture, they yet appear as much the growth of the common soil as the grass and the rushes. A tradition, where poetry and religion are the same thing, has passed through the centuries, gathering from learned and unlearned metaphor and emotion and carried back again to the multitude the thought of the scholar and of the noble. “
THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES OF FELUDA
‘The Complete Adventures of Feluda is a book of intriguing and engrossing suspense stories written by Ray. It follows detective Feluda as he solves complex crime cases while being accompanied by his cousin Topshe and crime writer Jatayu.
THE LIVES OF OTHERS BY NEEL MUKHERJEE
Calcutta, 1967. Unnoticed by his family, Supratik has become dangerously involved in student unrest, agitation, extremist political activism. Compelled by an idealistic desire to change his life and the world around him, all he leaves behind before disappearing is this note.
The ageing patriarch and matriarch of his family, the Ghoshes, preside over their large household, unaware that beneath the barely ruffled surface of their lives the sands are shifting. More than poisonous rivalries among sisters-in-law, destructive secrets, and the implosion of the family business, this is a family unraveling as the society around it fractures. For this is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change: the chasm between the generations and between those who have and those who have not, has never been wider. Ambitious, rich and compassionate, The Lives of Others unfolds a family history and anatomizes a social class in all its contradictions. It asks: Can we escape what is in our blood? How do we imagine our place amongst others in the world? Can that be reimagined? And at what cost? This is a novel of rare power and emotional force.
SEA OF POPPIES BY AMITAV GHOSH
A motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts is sailing down the Hooghly aboard the Ibis on its way to Mauritius. As they journey across the Indian Ocean old family ties are washed away and they begin to view themselves as jahaj-bhais or ship brothers who will build new lives for themselves in the remote islands where they are being taken. A stunningly vibrant and intensely human work, Sea of Poppies, the first book in the Ibis trilogy confirms Amitav Ghosh’s reputation as a master storyteller.
PYRE BY PERUMAL MURUGAN
‘Pyre glows with as much power as [One Part Woman] did and adds immeasurable value to contemporary Indian literature’—The Hindu Saroja and Kumaresan are in love. After a hasty wedding, they arrive in Kumaresan’s village, harboring a dangerous secret: their marriage is an inter-caste one, likely to upset the village elders should they get to know of it. Kumaresan is naively confident that all will be well. But nothing is further from the truth. Despite the strident denials of the young couple, the villagers strongly suspect that Saroja must belong to a different caste. It is only a matter of time before their suspicions harden into certainty and, outraged, they set about exacting their revenge.
A devastating tale of innocent young love pitted against chilling savagery, Pyre conjures a terrifying vision of intolerance.
THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS BY KIRAN DESAI
In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas lives an embittered judge who wants only to retire in peace, when his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep. The judge’s cook watches over her distractedly, for his thoughts are often on his son, Biju, who is hopscotching from one gritty New York restaurant to another. Kiran Desai’s brilliant novel, published to huge acclaim, is a story of joy and despair. Her characters face numerous choices that majestically illuminate the consequences of colonialism as it collides with the modern world.
THE GREAT INDIAN NOVEL BY SHASHI THAROOR
In this award-winning, internationally acclaimed novel, Tharoor has masterfully recast the 2,000 year-old epic, The Mahabharata, with fictional but highly recognizable events and characters from twentieth-century Indian politics. Chronicling the Indian struggle for freedom and independence from Great Britain, Tharoor directs his hilarious satire as much against Indian foibles as the bumbling of the British rulers
DEATH- AN INSIDE STORY BY SADHGURU
Death is a taboo in most societies in the world. But what if we have got this completely wrong? What if death was not the catastrophe it is made out to be but an essential aspect of life, rife with spiritual possibilities for transcendence? For the first time, someone is saying just that.
In this unique treatise-like exposition, Sadhguru dwells extensively upon his inner experience as he expounds on the more profound aspects of death that are rarely spoken about. From a practical standpoint, he elaborates on what preparations one can make for one’s death, how best we can assist someone who is dying and how we can continue to support their journey even after death.
Whether a believer or not, a devotee or an agnostic, an accomplished seeker or a simpleton, this is truly a book for all those who shall die!
THE SHIVA TRILOGY BY AMISH TRIPTHI
The Shiva Trilogy is the tale of the extraordinary man whose adventures 4000 years ago are remembered today as the myths of the Mahadev, the God of Gods. It is chronicled through three books, The Immortals of Meluha, The Secret of the Nagas & The Oath of the Vayuputras. 1900 BC.
When the book was published in February 2010, it went on to become a huge commercial success. It had to be reprinted a number of times to keep up with the demand.
the Shiva Trilogy has become the fastest selling book series in the history of Indian publishing, with 2.5 million copies in print and over Rupees 60 crore (US$8.4 million) in sales.
So this was my list, hope you would find it helpful.
Tell me in the comment section, what do you think? And have you read any of these?
6 thoughts on “Best Books to read by Indian Authors”
OMG! THE PALACE OF ILLUSIONS BY CHITRA BANERJEE DIVAKARUNI is in my tbr! Great list… thank you so much
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for sharing! Palace of Illusions is definitely on my TBR this year and I hope to read more from Jhumpa Lahiri as well
Ahh these all sound so good 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
Sadly I haven’t read yet any of these. All of them are on my tbr.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Wow so many great titles
LikeLiked by 1 person
This is an awesome list! I’ll definitely look into these authors 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person