Vivacious India

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 Your Indian


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Arundhati Roy:

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: “A lustrously braided and populated tale woven with ribbons of identity, love, mourning, and joy—and tied together with yellow mangoes, cigarettes, and damask roses.” —Sloane Crosley, Vanity Fair 

Also try: The End of Imagination; The God of Small Things



Aravind Adiga:

The White Tiger: “Darkly comic…Balram’s appealingly sardonic voice and acute observations of the social order are both winning and unsettling.” – The New Yorker

Also try: Between the Assassins: Last Man in Tower; Selection Day



Vikas Swarup:

The Accidental Apprentice: “Swarup’s voice has a magical quality—an essential kindness, a likeability . . . Like the Bollywood dance at the end of Slumdog Millionaire, it is oddly uplifting and joyful.” —The Sunday Times (UK)

Also try: Slumdog Millionaire



Rudyard Kipling:

Kim: Rudyard Kipling has been attacked for championing British imperialism and celebrated for satirizing it. In fact, he did both. Nowhere does he express his own ambivalence more strongly than in Kim, his rousing adventure novel of a young man of many allegiances.

Also try: Departmental ditties : barrack-room ballads and other verses; The five nations, the seven seas; The Man Who would be King and Other Stories; The Jungle Book



Vikram Seth:

An Equal Music: “Seth depicts, with Canaletto-like skill, the shimmering air and light of Venice at dawn, even as he neatly reproduces the loving tensions of the Maggiore [Quartet].”  –The Washington Post

Also try: A Suitable Boy; Two Lives



Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni:

The Palace of Illusions:  “A mythic tale brimming with warriors, magic and treachery. . . . Divakaruni’s sentences dazzle; the images she creates are masterful.” —Los Angeles Times

Also try: Arranged Marriage: Stories; Before We Visit the Goddess; The Mistress of Spices; Oleander Girl; One Amazing Thing; Sister of My Heart; The Unknown Errors of Our Lives: Stories


Jhumpa Lahiri:

The Namesake: “What sets Lahiri apart is simple yet richly detailed writing that makes the heart ache as she meticulously unfolds the lives of her characters.” USA Today

Also try: Interpreter of Maladies: Stories; The Lowland; Unaccustomed Earth

Manu Joseph:

The Illicit Happiness of Other People: “The Illicit Happiness of Other People is ambitious. It is the story of a family getting to know itself, of a socialist India that no longer exists and of a society obsessed with grades. It is a plot-driven yarn with themes of morality, sexuality, psychiatry and yet more science and philosophy…. But it does not feel overburdened…. Quite an achievement.” – The Economist

Rohinton Mistry:

Such a Long Journey: “Mistry is a writer of considerable achievement.…Patiently and with loving humour, [he] develops a portrait and draws his people with such care and understanding that their trials become our tragedies.”–Time

Also try: Family Matters; A Fine Balance; The Scream; Tales from Firozsha Baag

Akhil Sharma:

Family Life: “Sharma is a rare master at charting the frailties and failures, the cruelties and rages, the altering moods and contradictions, whims and perversities of a tragic cast of characters. But this most unsentimental writer leaves the reader, finally and surprisingly, moved. – Kiran Desai

Also try: A Life of Adventure and Delight: Stories

Shobha Rao:

Girls Burn Brighter:Girls Burn Brighter is a testament to the strength of female friendship in the face of unimaginable trauma…Shobha Rao astounds in her debut novel…not just with stunning prose, but with mastery of pacing, too…Over the course of its brutal and blazing trajectory, the novel never loses sight of the two strong, sensitive souls at its center, leaving the reader breathless in the presence of their power.” —Shelf Awareness

Jeet Thayil:

Narcopolis: “In ambition, Narcopolis is reminiscent of Roberto Bolano; but it is Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son—the best junkie book of the last quarter century—that is its closer kin. Thankfully, Thayil creates something original and vital from those blueprints. One yearns for the next hit.” – The Telegraph (U.K.)

Other Indian authors to try are: Kiran Desai; Salman Rushdie; Amitav Ghosh; Thrity Umrigar; Amit Chaudhuri;

Bharati Mukherjee; Anita Desai; Mira Jacob


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