Monday, March 26, 2012

Books Set in India.

I'm a real sucker for novels set in India.  A number of years ago, I went through a long phase of such reading, and I must admit that books about/in India are still amongst my favourite types of fiction.

For those who are readers, here are a few of my favourites that come to mind:

A Fine Balance and Family Matters, both by Rohington Mistry.
A Suitable Boy and Two Lives, both by Vikram Seth.
Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts (when will this guy write another book??).
What The Body Remembers, by Shauna Singh Baldwin.
The Case of the Missing Servant, by Tarquin Hall.

I also have a list of yet-to-read books, set in India, that I'd like to read.  Here are the ones I've yet to tackle:

Desirable Daughters, by Bharati Mukherjee; and its sequel, The Tree Bride.
The Tiger Claw, by Shauna Singh Baldwin.
The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing and The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, by Tarquin Hall.
For Matrimonial Purposes, by Davita Daswani.
The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy.
The Mango Season, by Amulya Malladi.
The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri.
The Sari Shop, by Rupa Bajwa.
Shining Hero, by Sara Banerji.
Tamarind Men, Can You Hear the Night Bird Call, and The Hero's Walk, all by Anita Rau Badami.
Sister of My Heart and its sequel The Vine of Desire, both by Chitra Benerjee Divakaruni.
* The Far Pavillions and Shadow of the Moon, both by M.M. Kaye.
* Of Marriageable Age, by Sharon Maas.
* Kartography, by Kamila Shamsie.
* Waiting for Mahatma, by R.K, Narayan.
* Untouchable, by Mulk Raj Anand.
* The Blood of Flowers, by Anita Amirrezvani.

If you've read any of the above and liked/disliked them, or if you have others to add to the list, I'd love to hear from you!!


  1. Wow-even with all the books I've read, I've read barely a one on your impressive list! I went through a Middle Eastern phase for a while, but haven't read many books set in India. I did read "What the Body Remembers" for book club which was interesting as the mother of one member of the group lived through much of the Sihk/Hindu tensions there. I believe I also read "The God of Small Things" years ago, but am not sure if I got through it, as I have little memory of it.
    I took your recommendation and am currently reading "Through the Glass". At first, I admit to feeling quite judgemental of Shannon, wondering how she appeared to have more pity than anger for her husband. I did not empathize with her losses (not being pregnant (after a MONTH?!!!), job change, being alone) in the face of what the victims' had suffered. She seemed to focus so much on herself and on Jason as a poor litle hurt boy, instead of a man who chose to commit a (two actually) horrible acts. I didn't get the lack of rage towards him, and the smiling picture of her next to him. As I'm getting into it however, I'm starting to empathize more with her, and wonder how I would react in her place. I am realizing that this is HER story, not that of the victims, and it is so easy to judge when not in someone's shoes. Anyway, thanks for the great recommendation - I can't put the book down :)

  2. I agree! I love books set in India. I'm a big fan of Rohinton Mistry as well - A Fine Balance is high on my list of all time favourites. You've peaked my curiosity about Shantaram - I'll have to look into that one.

    While this one is by no means one of my "all times", I'd recommend The Toss of a Lemon by Padma Viswanathan. It is an epic family story which covers about five or six generations of a Brahmin family. It gave a fascinating look into the caste system and political changes of India from the late 1800s through the late 20th century. Due to the length and epic feel of the story I felt immersed in this family's life and things became clearer through that immersion - particularly the complex rules of the girls and women of the family.

    *My second comment and it's books again. I promise I will eventually comment on something other than books. I'm a librarian and I can't stop myself when the topic comes up.


  3. Thanks guys!
    Kristin, I'm glad you persisted with Through the Glass; I found it a fascinating read in very large part because of the whole notion of restorative justice, and her journey through it all. I can't imagine at all how I'd feel if I suddenly had that news about my husband, but I imagine my feelings would be pretty complicated!!

    Jill, I'm delighted that you've commented twice and, though you're of course welcome to comment about other posts, too, I'm always extremely glad to have comments about reading/books!! I'll look forward to hearing more from you...whether about books or other things.

    Blessings to you both,


  4. Hi Ruth,
    I am a newbie here. A fellow bloggy-girl had sent me here previously.
    Great list - I also have a special interest in books set in India.
    Another recommendation: Secret Daughter (set in India & California with an adoption theme). Don't bother with the Sari Shop - beautiful cover but the writing was horrid.

  5. Hi Maple Walnut Mama (love the name!) -
    Nice to have you here...welcome!

    I read Secret Daughter last year, but thanks for thinking of it...I'd forgotten about it until I read your comment!

    And thanks for the heads-up about the Sari Shop - I will bypass that one in favour of other (hopefully better) ones.

    Thanks for the comment. Blessings,