This World Book Day is an opportune time to list down my favorite Indian Authors who write in English along with some of their memorable books.. And yes – Chetan Bhagat, Amish or Ashwin Sanghvi don’t feature in there!
The list is in no particular order, and has a mixed bag of both fiction and non fiction.. And I have not included authors who primarily write in other Indian languages and could have also written in English at times..
1. Jhumpa Lahiri – Her writing style is easy, crisp and yet beautifully layared.. Love the way she gets us to connect with all her characters… ‘Namesake’ still remains the most favorite, closely followed by ‘Interpreter of Maladies’.. I have not been able to read her last 2 books yet, which were non-fiction.. I do need to..
2. Amitava Ghosh – Sometimes poetic, Ghosh thrives on being rhetorical but never loses relevance.. ‘The Hungry Tide’ still stays on for such evocative writing style and so does ‘Shadow Lines’.. I was disappointed by his Ibis trilogy though and hence did not continue beyond the first volume..
3. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – The sense of visuals in her stories is extremely strong and so are her central characters.. Absolutely loved her take on Mahabharata from Draupadi’s viewpoint that constituted ‘The Palace of Illusions’.. Her ‘Sister of my Heart’ or the more recent ‘Before we visit the Goddess’ have been very powerful reads too..
4. Rohinton Mistry – His stories delve deep into the lives of Parsi families in various kinds of setups, and the reader instantly connects with them because of his fluid narrative.. ‘A Fine Balance’ has been a personal favorite, ahead of the rest..
5. Ruskin Bond – Yes he is of British descent, but he is an Indian Author in every way.. Its very difficult to single out one writing of his, they are all so good… His first novel ‘The room on the roof’ is in recent memories, and I can go back to it again anytime to its simplicity..
6. Siddhartha Mukherjee – ‘The emperor of all Maladies’, the autobiography of cancer was an extremely moving account, and possibly impacted even more as I was going through a very difficult journey at that time.. His triumph as a writer lies in the fact that he can make even subjects like this very pacy reads in spite of dealing with some heavy scientific research.. His next book on The Gene is sitting pretty on my book-shelf waiting to be read.. I must get to it quickly…
7. Suketu Mehta – If Cities could be characters, there would be none like Mumbai as described in his ‘Maximum City’.. Outstanding is the word, and how! I have not read anything more of him.. Why didn’t I?
8. Devdutt Pattnaik – It takes a lot of creativity to present mythology through a brand new outlook, and Pattnaik has done exactly that! One would have known Mahabharata and its characters in so many ways, and yet ‘Jaya’ retells it fresh and never lets its grip get loose! Need to read more of him..
There are a few other authors whom I have enjoyed reading, though it will still not be right to place them along with the list above.. Twinkle Khanna has been absolutely gorgeous as ‘Mrs Funnybones’; Preeti Shenoy stands a much more concrete ground on feel good romances with books like ‘Tea for two and a piece of cake’ far more than the other umpteen authors of this genre; Karan Mahajan was striking with his latest novel ‘The association of small bombs’; Manju Kapoor left a mark with ‘Custody’; Kavita Kane got the reader connect in her ‘Karna’s wife’ right; Shashi Tharoor’s ‘The Great Indian Novel’ was an interesting read and so far Apurva Purohit’s ‘Lady, you’re Not a Man’…
May this list only grow richer.. What would the world be without good books!