I was always a voracious reader. My foray into the world of Indian fiction and authors was through a slim copy of ‘Interpreter of Maladies’ that was kept on our family bookshelf. Flanked by Monica Lewinsky’s tell-all book, and a Robin Cook novel that my mother loved. That book changed my entire idea about Indian fiction. I didn’t realise that Indian fiction was more than just the mythological characters and sermons, heavily doused in fantastical elements. Indian fiction was beautifully nostalgic, poetic, and even ascetic at times. And these Indian authors were entirely responsible for that! These are the authors who changed the game. These are the authors who brought a kind of warmth to books that made Indian fiction more than just what met the eye!
1. Vikram Seth
Reason to Read: His confluence of music, romance, and tragedy is unparalleled. His characters are alluring and mysterious, while his narrative is extremely simple.
2. Prayaag Akbar
Reason to Read: To understand the warmth of inter-personal relationships in a cold dystopian world. The beauty of love that shines through the most challenging and uncertain of all futures.
3. Tishani Doshi
Reason to Read: Her sharp intuition is seen in almost all of her writings that include evoking memories and affectations of mortality.
4. Amitava Kumar
Reason to Read: Because he understands love. He understands the power of communication and companionship even when the most settled communication between two people is all about silence and despair.
5. Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi
Reason to Read: To know how to write about a powerful woman protagonist without her being either overtly demure or overtly rebellious. To make her personality her strength, that is what is so rare!
6. Aatish Taseer
Reason to Read: To understand the dichotomy of cultural haphazardness, and the bittersweet results of living in an identity purgatory.
7. Kiran Desai
Reason to Read: For her brilliant prose that makes the most nostalgic picture of your sweetest memory full of wild abandon and guarded innocence.
8. Jhumpa Lahiri
Reason to Read: To know how you don’t need to be a man to get into the mindset of one.
9. Jerry Pinto
Reason to Read: Because his writings tell you how to portray questions about challenges without feeling aghast and out of breath!
10. Anita Desai
Reason to Read: Because she is the Grand Dame of Indian literature, and if you haven’t read her you can’t call yourself a reader.
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