Sahitya classes Blog


25 must read indian english literature books

  1. Devdas by sarat chandra chattopadhyay–Devdas is a Bengali romance novel written by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. The story pivots a tragic triangle linking Devdas, an archetypal lover in viraha (separation); Paro, his forbidden childhood love; and Chandramukhi, a reformed courtesan.[1] Devdas has been adapted on screen 20 times for film and 5 times for single song.
  2. The inheritence of loss by kiran desai–The Inheritance of Loss, a 2006 book by Kiran Desai, explores immigration, identity, and relationships on both the interpersonal and international scale. Spanning India, England, and the United States, the novel details the conflict between traditional Indian ways of life and the shiny opulence of Western nations. The book won several awards, including the Man Booker Prize in 2006 and the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award in 2007.
  3. The white tiger by arvind adiga–It was published in 2008 and won the 40th Booker Prize the same year.[1] The novel provides a darkly humorous perspective of India’s class struggle in a globalized world as told through a retrospective narration from Balram Halwai, a village boy. The novel examines issues of the Hindu religion, caste, loyalty, corruption and poverty in India.
  4. The guide by R.K.narayan–The Guide is powerful story about spiritual transformation and self-realization. The narrative itself is both fantastical and comical, as the path the main character, Raju, takes to understanding is not intentional. In essence, Narayan’s story shows how a man intent on deception, including self-deception, comes to find clarity based in large part on his life of deception.
  5. The shadow lines by amitav ghosh–The Shadow Lines is a novel by Indian author Amitav Ghosh. Upon its publication in 1988, the book was praised for its ingenious structure and challenging style. Most novels tell a story. The Shadow Lines does not pretend to have a concrete plot. Rather, it is a series of stream-of-consciousness memories delivered to the reader by an unnamed character known as the Narrator. Jumping back and forth between 1939 and the mid-1970s, the Narrator reminisces about various family members and friends, and how their lives intersected with a series of fatal riots in Calcutta and Pakistan in 1963 and 1964.
  6. A suitable boy by vikram seth– Over 1,400 pages in length, it is a family saga. Critics praised A Suitable Boy for its probing, panoramic look into India’s cultural norms, as well as its combination of satire and romance. Seth received an exceedingly rare 1.1-million-dollar advance for the novel, a fact that caused a sensation in the Indian press. The novel took more than a decade to complete. Due to its length, social scrutiny, and realistic style, A Suitable Boy is often compared to George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871).
  7. Cry,the peacock by anita desai– this book has been considered as the first step in the direction of psychological fiction in indian writing in english. Maya is the protagonist and gautama is her husband. Maya was grown up with love and care of her parents and soon married to gautama. The marriage was not fruitful and she turned into be an insane.
  8. The god of small things by arundhati roy– it centers around a tragedy that rends a family apart and its lasting effects on the twins who were at the heart of it. The story chiefly takes place in a town named Ayemenem now part of kottayam in kerala.
  9. Karukku by Bama– Karukku broke barriers of tradition in more ways than one. The first autobiography by a Dalit woman writer and a classic of subaltern writing, it is a bold and poignant tale of life outside mainstream Indian thought and function. Revolving around the main theme of caste oppression within the Catholic Church, it portrays the tension between the self and the community, and presents Bama’s life as a process of self-reflection and recovery from social and institutional betrayal.
  10. Jootham by omprakash valmiki– it is an autobiographical account of writer as a dalit. This was translated into english from hindi by arun prabha mukherjee.
  11. It begins by a detailed description of the poor living surroundings of the chuhra community,where poverty reigns supreme.
  12. The palace of illusions by chitra banerjee divakurni–The Palace of Illusions, is a retelling of the ancient Hindu epic The Mahabharata. The novel is narrated from the point of view of Panchaali, a princess who is born from fire. Her brother, Dhri, is born this way as well. They inhabit a world where divine beings and magic are commonplace. Panchaali grows up in the palace of her father, King Drupad, who wants to seek revenge on his nemesis, Drona. When Panchaali was young, the sage Vyasa foretold that Panchaali would become a great and powerful queen married to five husbands. However, Vyasa also claims that Panchaali will be the cause of great destruction in her kingdom. Throughout Panchaali’s life, the god Krishna acts as a guide and confidant to Panchaali.
  13. The namesake by jhumpa lahiri— The Namesake tells the story of the Gangulis, a Bengali American family grappling with love, loss, and identity in the final thirty years of the 20th Century.
  14. When Ashoke Ganguli survives a catastrophic train accident in India thanks to a book of short stories written by Nikolai Gogol, he decides to move to America. Shortly after the move, he enters an arranged marriage with Ashima, and they give birth to a son. A twist of fate keeps them from naming the boy according to Bengali traditions, so they give him the name “Gogol” instead. As he grows, Gogol comes to hate his name and decides to change it, hoping to leave both his former name and his Bengali heritage behind. Now as “Nikhil,” he begins dating a woman named Maxine, living with her family and adopting their culture while ignoring his own. However, Gogol is pulled back to his Bengali heritage after his father dies of a heart attack. Gogol then marries a fellow Bengali American named Moushumi. Their marriage lasts only a few years before Moushumi, also rebelling against her Bengali heritage, has an affair with a white man. This final loss forces Gogol to come to grips not only with his multiple names but also with his multiple identities.
  15. Train to pakistan by khushwant singh– Set in imagined Mano majra This is a story of religious persecution and the aftermath of displacement. During the Partition of India in 1947, Hindus and Sikhs were made to move to India, and Muslims were forced into Pakistan, regardless of family history. Some families were displaced after many generations of living in one place or the other.
  16. Final solutions by mahesh dattani—The play presents different shades of the communalist attitude prevalent among Hindus and Muslims in its attempt to underline the stereotypes and clichés influencing the collective sensibility of one community against another. What distinguishes this work from other plays written on the subject is that it is neither sentimental in its appeal nor simplified in its approach.
  17. Difficult daughters by manju kapur dalmia–Difficult Daughters tells the story of Virmati, a young woman who falls in love with a married professor just as her family is planning her own marriage. It vividly describes India around the time of partition, but more importantly gives more depth to a story which sounded familiar. It would be predictable to write the story of a rebellious daughter who embraces education and career as an alternative to arranged marriage, but what Kapur does is more subtle. Virmati makes tentative moves into independence but in fact makes very few choices for herself and yearns for a conventional life with her lover.
  18. Untouchable by mulk raj anand—Published in 1935, it charts the path of one day in the life of a young man named Bakha. Bakha is a member of the Untouchables, a designation for people so far below even the lowest caste in Indian society that they are considered outside of the system. His job is to sweep streets and latrines for the upper class, who are forbidden from cleaning or touching human waste. Because he was born as an Untouchable, this will be Bakha’s job for his entire life, unless there are reforms in India. The entire novel takes place on one day of Bakha’s life, a day in which his tolerance for the mistreatment endured by the lower castes begins to erode.
  19. Gitanjali by Rabindernath tagore—Gitanjali, or Song Offerings is a collection of poems written by Rabindranath Tagore in the early 1900s. The themes of the poems revolve around nature and spirituality and in 1913, Tagore became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature for the english translation of the poems.
  20. Kanthapura by raja rao–Kanthapura recounts the rise of a Gandhian nationalist movement in a small South Indian village of the same name. The story is narrated by Achakka, an elder brahmin woman with an encyclopedic knowledge about everyone in her village; she tells the story in the meandering, nonlinear style of a sthala-purana, a traditional “legendary history” of a village, its people, and its gods.
  21. Midnight’s children by salman rushdie–Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India’s 1,000 other “midnight’s children,” all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.
  22. This novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people–a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. Twenty-five years after its publication, Midnight’ s Children stands apart as both an epochal work of fiction and a brilliant performance by one of the great literary voices of our time.
  23. English,august by upmanyu chatterjee–The book chronicles one year in the life of a trainee civil servant, Agastya Sen, on his first posting-cum-training session to Madna, a negligible fictional village in the vast Indian hinterland. The book was first written in 1988 and later adapted to a movie in 1994. It touches upon pressing issues of rural versus urban Indian lives, with themes that are still relevant today
  24. Narcopolis by jeet thayil—Jeet Thayil’s debut novel was short listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2012. The book jacket calls it a hallucinatory dream of a book that chronicles the opuim-rich, chaotic and urbane Bombay of 1970s. It won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2013 at DSC Jaipur Literature Festival.
  25. Blue umbrella by Ruskin bond—This children’s book written by Mussorie-based Ruskin Bond revolves around a little girl’s umbrella that she traded with her old necklace. The umbrella soon becomes a premium property in the village.
  26. The great indian novel by shashi tharoor—Shashi Tharoor recasts the 2,000 year-old epic, The Mahabharata, with fictional but highly recognizable events and characters from twentieth-century Indian politics, in this award-winning, internationally acclaimed novel. Chronicling the Indian struggle for freedom and independence from England, Tharoor directs his satire as much against Indian babus as the English rulers.
  27. Maximum city by suketu mehta–A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us an insider’s view of this stunning metropolis. He returns to the city after many years and approaches the city from unexpected angles, taking us into the criminal underworld of rival gangs; follows the life of a bar dancer raised amid poverty and abuse; gives us scoop on the growing business of Bollywood; and delves into the stories of the countless villagers who come in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks.
  28. A fine balance by rohinton mistry—

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