Literary criticism

Indian English Novels you cannot afford to miss

The GuideIndian English authors have outclassed their global counterparts by simply penning the fine fictional/prosaical works. Many of the Indian authors are thought to be leaders in certain genres as their works are definite benchmarks for the aspiring authors. Their works have also earned accolades globally. Many of the Indian authors have bagged the coveted Booker Prize and other literary honors, giving a solid proof of their unmatched talent and writerly imagination. These Indian authors have tried to put in their stories in different ways without even missing the voice of the times.

Few of the best novels are below which every Indian literary buff should read.

The Guide by R.K Narayan

Written in 1958, the Guide is a classic Indian English novel which captured the imagination of the audience as soon as it was launched. RK Narayan shot up to immediate global fame after the release of the novel. Later this novel was adapted into a Bollywood film starring Dev Anand. The novel describes the transformation of the protagonist, Raju, from a tour guide to a spiritual guide. The protagonist adopts a path of selflessness that takes him closer to the god. It is a must-read novel for every Indian if they want to understand the journey of India’s English Novel.

Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand

‘Untouchable’ is a novel by Mulk Raj Anand published in 1935. This novel gave Mulk Raj Anand a lot of recognition in the Indian literary circles. This novel pictures the intricacies around the caste system in India. The plot of the book, Anand’s first, revolves around the argument for eradicating the caste system. You cannot afford to miss this level.

Train To Pakistan by Khushwant Singh

‘Train To Pakistan’ is one of the best works that depicted the massacre that took place during India-Pakistan partition. It is a historical novel by Khushwant Singh, published in 1956. Khushwant Singh does not depict the political drama around partition. He, however, stations his story on the common men whose lives were brutalized by the partition. In 1998, the novel was also adapted into a movie with the same name. You need to read this novel, not only to understand the literary talent which Khuswant Singh was but also to know what happened to the men and women when the partition was taking place.

Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai

‘Fasting, Feasting’ is a novel by Anita Desai which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for fiction in 1999. ‘Fasting, Feasting’ is the tale of plain and lumpish Uma and the cherished, late-born Arun, daughter and son of strict and conventional parents and their lives. The story throws light on the challenges of Indian Middle class in the late nineties.

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

‘Midnight’s Children’ is a 1980 novel by Salman Rushdie that deals with India’s transition from British colonialism to independence and the partition of British India. This novel is a fine example of Salman Rushdie’s magic realism.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

The second novel by Rohinton Mistry, “A Fine Balance” is set in Bombay, India between 1975 and 1984 during the turmoil of The Emergency. This novel gives true insights into a period of expanded government power and crackdowns on civil liberties in the days of the Emergency. The book is based on four characters from varied backgrounds who come together and develop a bond. In order to understand what the Emergency did to common man, you must read this novel.

The Night Train At Deoli by Ruskin Bond

In this short story, Ruskin Bond narrates his experience during one of his train journeys to Dehradun as an eighteen-year-old. It revolves around a small lonely station called Deoli. The story is really interesting. Ruskin Bond is a great fiction writer who has written stories about the lives of people in Uttarakkhand.

The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh

‘The Shadow Lines’ won the Sahitya Akademi Award for Amitav Ghosh. The novel is set against the backdrop of historical events like Swadeshi movement, Second World War, Partition of India and Communal riots of 1963-64 in Dhaka and Calcutta. The novel boasts of a narrative built out of an intricate, constantly crisscrossing web of memories of many people and it never pretends to tell a story. The narrative technique is really innovative and makes this novel a gem of Indian fiction.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga took the world by storm through its racy narrative. The novel provides a darkly humorous perspective of India’s class struggle in a globalised world. Its protagonist and villainous character Balram Halwai moves up the social ladder through cleaver and criminal means.

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