Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Indian Fiction at Bookrack

This week we are suggesting titles from our Indian authors which in our opinion is a shining example of how to make a good collection :P. A few recommendations:

1. Stranger: Stories by Satyajit Ray: Satyajit Ray made great films. He also was an ad-maker, an artist (he has developed 2 fonts) and an author (Feluda stories). This book has short stories dealing with the supernatural and incidentally the last story in this collection was also made into Ray's last film 'Agantuk'

2. Ruskin Bond Minibus: If you have ever read Bond's short stories, take this to read more. If you have never then you are missing out on some real pleasurable stuff. This collection also has The Blue Umbrella, Susanna’s Seven Husbands which were made into films.

3. Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai: Anita Desai is one of the most celebrated Indian author writing in english and this book, to quote from the Times Literary Supplement: "From the overpowering warmth of Indian culture to the cool center of the American family, it captures the physical -- and emotional -- fasting and feasting that define two distinct cultures"

4. Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry: Mistry you may have heard as the author whose book was banned on the behest of Aditya Thackeray by University of Mumbai. This book has the usual Mistry trappings: Parsis, Bombay, family troubles, deep humanity, bleakness and hope. An easy yet deep read, it leaves a lasting impression and to quote Sonia Chopra from Curled Up With a Good Book site "Family Matters triumphs because its characters are alive and because it captures the moods and conflicting emotions of three generations. This book further seals Mistry’s reputation of excellence and brilliance."

5. The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh: We are surprised no one has borrowed this gem of a book yet. The book is loosely based on the life and times of Sir Ronald Ross who achieved a breakthrough in malaria research in 1898. It was the recipient of the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1997. You can read a good review here:

6. The House of Blue Mangos by David Davidar: David Davidar was the head of Penguin India and a celebrated head who helped uncover many an Indian talent. This book was his first effort in writing. From the Amazon review: "Davidar's ambitious novel set in India relates many stories in one, each ineluctably merging into the other. We are shown three generations of an old family in the oceanside village of Chevathar. The patriarch Solomon strives to maintain equilibrium as caste struggles begin to create harsh conflict in the village, while his sons endure triumph and disaster as India inaugurates its battle for independence and his grandson, who may be the last of the line, undertakes his own bid for independence. All of these characters are drawn with a mercurial vividness, and Davidar has a Tolstoyan sense of the larger canvas--his epic covers the spectrum of heroes and rogues, clans and dynasties, the ugly and the beautiful."

7.  How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life by Kavya Vishwanath: Kavya was a high school student in USA when this book was published. It was seen as a nicely written chick-lit till the allegations of plagiarism surfaced. Subsequently the book was withdrawn and the case was actually quite messy. Nonetheless this is a nice breezy read and to quote someone on the Amazon site "The plot concerns an overachieving Indian girl whose dream of sailing into Harvard is derailed when the admissions officer tells her to stop studying so much and get a life, which she then tries clumsily to do."

8. The Pakistani Bride by Bapsi Sidhwa: Bapsi is a well known Pakistani author on whose book the film Earth was based. From Amazon: Zaitoon, an orphan, is adopted by Qasim, who has left the isolated hill town where he was born and made a home for the two of them in the glittering, decadent city of Lahore. As the years pass Qasim makes a fortune but grows increasingly nostalgic about his life in the mountains. Impulsively, he promises Zaitoon in marriage to a man of his tribe and the crux of the story is the clash in values of these 2 people and Zaitoon's bid to remain a free bird. From a review by Niranjan Iyer: "The Pakistani Bride is a very moving read. This book is clearly born of sincerity and passion. Sidhwa's compassion for the young Zaitoon single-handedly elevates the book into something approaching greatness."

9. RK Narayan Collection: We have 15 books by him! We will cover the great man in a separate post sometime later.

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