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The Best Indian Fiction

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

Indian Fiction. Arundhati Roy, The God of Small ThingsI 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

Indian Fiction - Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa LahiriJhumpa 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

Indian Fiction - The Inheritence of Loss by Kiran DesaiThis 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

Indian Fiction - White Tiger by Aravind AdigaI 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

Indian Fiction - Bitter Sweets by Roopa FarookiWhile 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

Indian Fiction - Chethan Bhagat 2 StatesChethan 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

Indian author R.K Narayan: Malgudi DaysI do not think there is any other Indian author who writes about childhood with as much insight as R.K.Narayan. I grew up reading R. K. Narayan. For me, he is the Indian author.




No. 8. Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup

Indian fictino author Vikas Swarup - Six suspectsI 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

Indian fiction Meera Syal Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee HeeI 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

Rudyard Kipling - Kim Inidian FictionAnother author I grew up reading. Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle book, Kim and Just So Stories were childhood fodder, so I had to include him in this list of my top ten Indian authors.




Do you agree with this list?  Who are your favourite Indian Fiction authors?  I’d love to hear your thoughts via the comments section.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Renita D’Silva and I’m the author of Monsoon Memories  a story about how sometimes the hardest journeys are the ones that lead you home.  It’s a book inspired by India, and the power and passion of the Monsoon.  I do hope you’ll read Monsoon Memories and my subsequent novels, The Forgotten Daughter and The Stolen Girl.  

21 comments on “The Best Indian Fiction

  1. Adite Banerjiead on said:

    Hi Renita. Interesting selection of Indian books. I would add one more Indian author to your list — Amitav Ghosh. In his latest trilogy (of which two are out: Sea of Poppies and River of Smoke), he blends history with fiction and does an amazing job of it. Unputdownable!

    • renitadsilva on said:

      Thanks for this, Adite. Haven’t read either ‘The Sea of Poppies’ or ‘The River of Smoke’. Will do. Thank you 🙂

  2. John Simon on said:

    I would recommend Peter Church’s book Added Value-the life stories of Indian business leaders. Amazing insight on some truly inspirational people. You should read this book not only because it was fantastically insightful and interesting in relation to the individuals but also gives the reader an incredibly helpful view of the mindset of the business leaders. The book is an excellent primer for anyone seeking to do business.

  3. Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories on said:

    We have Interpreter of Maladies as one of the books to read for my book club. I also really enjoyed Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (her first novel) and Thrity Umrigar’s The World We Found. I’m putting you right up there with my favorite Indian fiction authors too 🙂

    • renitadsilva on said:

      Thanks so much Tanya for this lovely comment and for the wonderful review. I will definitely put ‘Secret Daughter’ and ‘The World We Found’ on my To Read List. Someone else also recommended ‘The Secret Daughter’. Am curious now 🙂

  4. Sdmh on said:

    Kipling was an Orientalist. See Edward Said’s book on Orientalism.

  5. shravan on said:

    Love your work, could you help me find the name of a book ,I read it 7 years back and its very tough finding a book with just the name of the main character.I know its a lame thing to ask for but if you could help this worm ,I would be eternally grateful to you.The name is “maya” and its genre is romance/drama to the best of my knowledge. Thank you

    • renitadsilva on said:

      Hi Shravan, Thank you for this message. I am so sorry but I did look for a book with ‘Maya’ as the main character, but have drawn a blank so far. Will keep looking and let you know if I find it.

      • Snehal on said:

        Hi Shravan, I remember reading this book called One Hundred Shades of White by Preethi Nair and the main character was Maya. Wonder if this is the same book? Hope this helps!

  6. Sharon on said:

    Hello I liked ur work very good have u written any secondary writing or secondary sources or reviews for the works of thrity umrigar.even I like 2 states by chetan bhagat have u watched the movie not bad the novel is good.pls give me reply im working on thrity umrigar u can help me out.

    • renitadsilva on said:

      Hi Sharon, Thank you for this message. i am really sorry but I have not done any reviews on Thrity Umrigar’s work. Best Wishes, Renita

  7. Faris Arakkal on said:

    Hi , I feel sad that you missed the best Indian English writer of all times! Amitav Gosh; I havent seen a writer like this who writes with such power and language is his craft. I wish you read all his books.. please..

    • renitadsilva on said:

      Hi Faris, Thank you so much for this message and for recommending Amitav Ghosh. I’ll definitely read his books.

  8. Snehal on said:

    Hi Renita, I loved your book ‘Monsoon Memories’. I am passionate about Indian fiction too and strongly feel that the time has come to promote the wonderful work that writers like you produce. As part of this endeavour, I have recently started my blog where I review books by South Asian authors.

    I would like to add to your list 2 of my favourite authors – Rohinton Mistry and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Hope you enjoy their books!

    Looking forward to your latest novel next month!

    All the best,

    • renitadsilva on said:

      Dear Snehal, Thank you so much for this lovely message. I have visited your website and love your blog. Rohinton Mistry and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni are on my list or To Read Indian authors -thank you so very much for your recommendation. I hope you like my new book. Many thanks. X

  9. mannu on said:

    i think malgudi days could be on the 2 states, that was much much better then 2 states

    • renitadsilva on said:

      Yes, I did love Malgudi Days very much. A classic and so beautifully written, conjuring up the essence of childhood.

  10. Divya La Penna on said:

    Hi Renata,

    You have to read the Toss of a Lemon by Padma Vishvanathan. It’s another amazing work set in South India as well.

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