Indian fiction has always been a passion of mine – I devoured novels by Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai and Jhumpa Lahiri before becoming an Indian fiction author myself.
This page is devoted to my top ten favourite Indian fiction novels. If you’ve enjoyed any of these authors as much as I have then you might also enjoy my debut novel Monsoon Memories and my subsequent novels, The Forgotten Daughter and The Stolen Girl. Set in India, Monsoon Memories is a story about a fractured family, a forbidden secret, and a little girl looking for answers. The Forgotten Daughter is about a woman living in the UK who finds out she was adopted from India via a letter left in her parents’ will. It explores the themes of identity and roots. The Stolen Girl is thirteen year old Diya, whose mother is arrested for stealing her. The Stolen Girl asks the question: ‘How far would YOU go to protect your child?’ and involves a mother’s love, a long-buried secret and the search for the truth.
No. 1. The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
I read The God of Small Things when it came out and it made a big impression on me. I was at university, studying engineering but secretly wanting to be a writer and the sheer beauty of Arundhati Roy’s prose, her writing style, the way she was able to get inside the mind of a child won me over. Arundhati Roy writes about an India I can relate to- the story is set in Kerala which is near where I grew up. Like the protagonists, I grew up on pickle and the monotony of daily mass at church. I can still picture Rahel bored during the funeral, talking to the dead girl. In terms of Indian fiction, this is definitely my all-time favourite.
No. 2. Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories are beautiful. The characters stay with you long after you leave their pages. It is difficult in short stories to build a rapport with the characters but Jhumpa achieves this effortlessly. Another favourite Indian author, her fiction conjures up an India I can identify with
No. 3. The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai
This was a gem of a book. One of the early readers of my manuscript asked me if I had read it and so I gave it a go. I couldn’t put it down. The angst, the beauty of the writing makes this book by one of the best Indian authors out there the third on my list.
No. 4. The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga
I laughed out loud while reading this book. It is very dark, explores some serious issues but with a tongue in cheek humour hard to resist. Aravinda Adiga had a knack of tackling major issues with a panache that leaves you breathless and wanting to read more. In terms of Indian fiction, this definitely is one of the best and Aravinda Adiga is one of the best Indian authors there is.
No. 5 Bitter Sweets – Roopa Farooki
While browsing Bitter Sweets in Borders, I was drawn in by the first chapter and could not put the book down. I left the store with the book, reading it on the escalator and the bus home, and finished it in one sitting. It is an absolute joy to read, a real gem of a book. Brilliant Indian fiction by an impressive Indian author.
No. 6. 2 States – Chetan Bhagat
Chethan Bhagat’s 2 States had me in hysterics. This Indian author is able to write about issues that plague India, the big divide between north and south, parents and children with so much humour. He exposes our quirks, makes us Indians laugh at ourselves.
No. 7. Malgudi Days – R.K Narayan
No. 8. Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup
I read Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup after Slumdog Millionaire, based on his book Q & A, came out. I liked it very much. He is able to get inside the minds of his characters, expose them in all their flaws, expose the corruption prevalent in India brilliantly. A splendid Indian author.
No. 9. Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee – Meera Syal
I know she isn’t strictly Indian- she was born and brought up in the UK – but I loved reading this book about the Asian community in Britain. A funny and poignant book, I would rate Meera Syal right up there among my favourite Indian authors writing about topics relevant to modern day Indians who live in the UK.
No. 10. Kim by Rudyard Kipling