back to top

34 Books By Indian Authors That Everyone Should Read

India is amongst the largest and most diverse countries in the world – here are a few authors who have made the most riveting attempts at the impossible task of capturing it.

Posted on

1. Not Only The Things That Have Happened by Mridula Koshy


Why you should read it: Not Only The Things That Have Happened tells the story of a mother who loses her son, and of how the boy becomes a man. The most engaging part of the novel is that it's told over a 36 hour period, in which time acts as a sort of narrator, taking us through decades and back.

2. Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar.

Why you should read it: Cuckold is a novel based in 16th century India, dealing with the lives of a very powerful ruling family. The novel stands out among others like it because of its raw representations of sex and scandal. Nagarkar constructs a story that is ostensibly about love, but allows the reader to explore the internal struggle of a man when faced with betrayal, loss, and war.


4. The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh.

Why you should read it: Ghosh brilliantly intertwines the traditions, cultures and histories of people from across the world, and paints a picture of a combined consciousness.

5. Chronicles Of A Corpse Bearer by Cyrus Mistry.


Why you should read it: Chronicles Of A Corpse Bearer opens its readers' eyes to the lives of a near invisible section of Mumbai's Parsi community. Mistry gives us a glimpse into their often alienated and poverty stricken lives through a story about forbidden love.

6. God's Little Soldier by Kiran Nagarkar.

Why you should read it: The novel shocks the reader into realising that there are highly complex questions one must think about when it comes to religion and politics.

7. Serious Men by Manu Joseph.

Why you should read it: Serious Men is a unique blend of witty and observant sarcasm, along with a retrospective like no other.


9. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

Why you should read it: The God Of Small Things is a cleverly written book which explores the full range of human emotion, pivoting around tragedy and hope.

10. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

Why you should read it: About A Fine Balance, Goodreads member Jean said, "This is one of my favorite books. It will absolutely gut you from beginning to end. The characters are complicated and melancholic but also lovable and deeply loved by one another. The suffering is so real; some succumb to it while others do not."

11. The Inheritance Of Loss by Kiran Desai.

Instagram: @mmmaartje__

Why you should read it: Desai, as always, weaves a story that will grip you from start to finish with its relatable characters and vivid visual imagery.


13. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.

Why you should read it: In The White Tiger, we find a profound first person narrative that provides a compulsive, obsessive, and unapologetic protagonist. An amazing story of one man, searching for himself, while committing acts of profanity along the way.

14. Interpreter Of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Why you should read it: Jhumpa Lahiri's style is elegant and sweet above all, which translates into her narratives creating an ever accessible reality for the reader.

15. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Why you should read it: The novel showcases the journey of finding oneself, realising the importance of one's culture and history, and most importantly how to find the balance between who you are and who you want to be.


17. An Obedient Father by Akhil Sharma


Why you should read it: The novel is a fascinating glimpse into Indian business culture and family culture, while also touching upon the hardly touched upon topic of child abuse and the cultural response to the subject.

18. The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob.

Why you should read it: The novel, although saddening till the end, showcases a kind of melancholy that will stick with you.


20. The Death Of Vishnu by Manil Suri.

Why you should read it: The real beauty of the book is in its characters, and the way their stories demonstrate the flawed but maddeningly true nuances of life.

22. The Art Of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

Why you should read it: The author's very poignant struggle to clarify why we make the choices we make.

23. An Area Of Darkness by V.S. Naipaul.

Why you should read it: It subtly explores insightful revelations about returning to one's country and revisiting one's heritage, after having left.


25. Love Among The Bookshelves by Ruskin Bond.

Why you should read it: For all the Ruskin Bond fans out there, Love Among The Bookshelves acts as a part memoir, part anthology. It's an exploration of all the stories of his life that led him to eventually write some of his own.

26. The Stringer by Anjan Sundaram.

Why you should read it: This book takes you up close to the lives of the people in Congo's chaotic, hustling capital of Kinshasa, and in the the picturesque but insecure East, thousands of miles away.

27. The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor.

Why you should read it: The analogies used and the characters that you meet speak to you through their crafty and imaginative presentation.


28. The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh

Why you should read it: The Hungry Tide excels due to Amitav Ghosh's brilliance with making you visualise what he writes. The novel exudes visual stimuli, and the breathtaking landscape of the Sundarbans tied in with the interesting quest at the heart of the novel, are enough to enthrall you.

29. Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar (Translated by Jerry Pinto).


Why you should read it: The novel showcases one of the most shocking and brilliantly worded stories of love, albeit from different view points and orientations. The story will stick with you, and long after you read it, the novel will play on your mind, forcing you to revisit it from time to time.

30. The Story Of My Assassins by Tarun Tejpal

Why you should read it: The Story Of My Assassins encompasses both sides of Indian society, intertwined with sarcastic wit that is the definition of raw language. The characters themselves speak out philosophically about India's rule, and the passion with which it was written bursts through each page.

31. The Palace Of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Why you should read it: A riveting take on 'The Mahabharata,' as told from the perspective of Princess Panchaali.

32. Train To Pakistan by Khushwant Singh

Why you should read it: Train to Pakistan is one of the most painfully sad and disturbing – yes informative and eye-opening – narratives one can read about the divide between India and Pakistan.

33. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie.

Why you should read it: A complex novel that deals with the development of a country and an individual, simultaneously and exquisitely showcasing how their destinies are intertwined.

34. India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha.

Why you should read it: A book holds your attention through a young nation's fight against the forces that were threatening its hope for secularism.