Need author recommendations from the Indian Subcontinent or the diaspora
January 4, 2017 5:31 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for recommendations for contemporary fiction authors who either write about life in the Indian Subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) or Nepal, or about life for the diaspora (in whatever other country). Authors I've enjoyed reading: Chitra Banerjee Divakunari, Anita Desai, Thrity Umrigar, Kamila Shamsie, Meera Syal, Anita Nair, Vikram Seth (maybe he's not as contemporary anymore), David Davidar, M.G. Vansanji, Jaishree Misra I'm not interested in books about the colonial experience such as EM Foster or Paul Scott.
posted by darsh to Society & Culture (21 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
By coincidence, I thought the other day about posting's "The books that mattered to India's independent publishers in 2016" to the front page, because I thought it was a nice complement to the Guardian's "publishers pick their books of 2016" and "indie publishers pick their books of 2016" articles and an interesting window onto the publishing scene in India. While I was thinking about it, I ran across BuzzFeed's "35 Great Books By Indian Authors Published In 2016." Sorry I can't be sure whom I'd recommend though--that's one reason I skipped putting this on the front page.
posted by Wobbuffet at 5:44 AM on January 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

Some of the big ones are: Amitav Ghosh, Hari Kunzru, Aravind Adiga, Arundhati Roy, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Kiran Desai
posted by peacheater at 5:50 AM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

I highly recommend Vaseem Khan! He has written two highly entertaining mystery novels (part of a larger upcoming series) set in modern day India.
posted by Hanuman1960 at 5:58 AM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

Jhumpa Lahiri.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 6:02 AM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

I really enjoyed Monica Ali's Brick Lane.
posted by Mchelly at 6:15 AM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

I liked the White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. It's definitely very contemporary. My favorite Indian authors are probably Salman Rushdie and Rohinton Mistry. I loved A Fine Balance and Such a Long Journey by Mistry. They are set in the 1970s though.
posted by armadillo1224 at 7:10 AM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

Sacred Games, by Vikram Chandra. I loved all three of the books I mention, as well as In the Light of What We Know, but I live this one so much that I've read it twice even though it's almost 1000 pages.
posted by janey47 at 7:12 AM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Two of my favorites are Pakistani author Mohammed Hanif's A Case of Exploding Mangoes and Indian author Upamanyu Chatterjee's slightly older English, August. Both excellent, excellent books.
posted by whitewall at 7:28 AM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

V.S. Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas, is about an Indian family in Trinidad. Although it's considered a classic by many, do note that Naipaul is known for being rather a racist asshole.
posted by praemunire at 8:10 AM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Firdaus Kanga
posted by brujita at 9:29 AM on January 4, 2017

One of the best known Nepali authors writing in English is Manjushree Thapa
posted by MrC at 9:46 AM on January 4, 2017

I LOVE most of the authors you mentioned in your post, and I really liked these books too:
A Good Indian Wife (Anne Cherian - yes, she is Indian)
Secret Daughter (Shilpi Somaya Gowda)
God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy) and An Atlas of Impossible Longing (also by Arundhati Roy)
Teatime for the Firefly (Shona Patel)

And of course, ANYTHING by Jhumpa Lahiri. She is phenomenal.

I'm very much looking forward to seeing other recommendations because I haven't read any Indian authors recently and now have a few for my list!
posted by guster4lovers at 9:18 PM on January 4, 2017

Daniyal Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms Other Wonders is a very good relatively recent collection of short stories written in English.

If you are up for literature in translation (all from Urdu) and would like to read some twentieth century classics, I recommend Qurat-ul-Ain Haider's River of Fire, Intizar Hussain's Basti (justifiably published by NYRB Classics), and the short stories of Saadat Hasan Manto. Ismat Chughtai translations appear to be out of print (and I haven't read them translated so can't vouch for the quality) but are milestones in feminist Urdu literature.
posted by tavegyl at 12:35 AM on January 5, 2017

Oops, just saw that you specified contemporary. The Urdu writers I've mentioned were active around the mid 20th century.
posted by tavegyl at 12:36 AM on January 5, 2017

amitav ghosh glass palace is interesting and written with a indian subcontinent and surrounding countries perspective, I suspect he does tend to talk a lot about colonial india.

Jhumpa lahiri lowland is worth the read , I have a special bond with this book given it made my reconnect with my dad and know a little bit more about my birthplace
posted by radsqd at 4:57 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I really liked The Toss of a Lemon by Padma Viswanathan, about three generations of a Brahmin family from the beginning of the 20th century until around 1966.
posted by holborne at 9:17 AM on January 5, 2017

Shehan Karunatilaka, Chinaman
Saad z Hossain, escape from Baghdad
posted by Ziggy500 at 9:00 PM on January 5, 2017

Salman Rushdie. Midnight's Children is one of my favorite novels of all time, and many of his later works are also beautiful, especially The Ground Beneath Her Feet and The Satanic Verses.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:52 PM on January 7, 2017

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