India -- fiction

The Jewel in the Crown

By Paul Scott

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The first volume in Paul Scott's historical tour-de-force, the Raj Quartet, opens in 1942 as the British fear both Japanese invasion and Indian demands for self-rule. In the Mayapore gardens, Daphne Manners, daughter of the provincial governor, leaves her Indian lover, who will soon be arrested for her alleged rape.
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The Impressionist

By Hari Kunzru

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"Fathered, through circuitous circumstances, by an Englishman, Pran Nath Razdan, the boy who will become the Impressionist, was passed off by his Indian mother as the child of her husband, a wealthy man of high caste. Growing up spoiled in a life of luxury just down river from the Taj Mahal, at fifteen the news of Pran's true parentage is revealed to his father and he is tossed out into the street--a pariah and an outcast. Thus begins an extraordinary, near-mythical journey of a young man who must reinvent himself to survive--not once, but many times."
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The God of Small Things

By Arundhati Roy

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"Compared favorably to the works of Faulkner and Dickens, Arundhati Roy’s debut novel is a modern classic that has been read and loved worldwide. Equal parts powerful family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political drama, it is the story of an affluent Indian family forever changed by one fateful day in 1969. The seven-year-old twins Estha and Rahel see their world shaken irrevokably by the arrival of their beautiful young cousin, Sophie. It is an event that will lead to an illicit liaison and tragedies accidental and intentional, exposing 'big things [that] lurk unsaid' in a country drifting dangerously toward unrest. Lush, lyrical, and unnerving, The God of Small Things is an award-winning landmark that started for its author an esteemed career of fiction and political commentary that continues unabated."

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The Death of Mr. Love

By Indra Sinha

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This novel was inspired by a true story where the victim became a villain and the killer became a hero, offers a rare and fascinating insight into the psychosexual undercurrents of Indian life. The reverberations from the notorious Nanavati society murder in 1950s Bombay -- the fatal consequence of an affair between an Indian playboy and his married English lover -- were so great that they reached the offices of Prime Minister Nehru and changed the face of the Indian justice system irrevocably. What is not known -- has never been known -- is that a second, connected crime, so cruel that it destroyed the lives of two women, went unreported and has remained unpunished. Until now.
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Sister of My Heart

By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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Anju is the daughter of an upper-caste Calcutta family of distinction. Sudha is the daughter of the black sheep of that same family. Sudha is startlingly beautiful; Anju is not. Despite these differences, since the day the two girls were born--the same day their fathers died, mysteriously and violently--Sudha and Anju have been sisters of the heart. Bonded in ways even their mothers cannot comprehend, the two girls grow into womanhood as if their fates, as well as their hearts, are merged. When Sudha learns a dark family secret, that connection is threatened.

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Serving Crazy with Curry: A Novel

By Amulya Malladi

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"Between the pressures to marry and become a traditional Indian wife and the humiliation of losing her job in Silicon Valley, Devi is on the edge–-where the only way out seems to be to jump. . . . Yet Devi’s plans to “end it all” fall short when she is saved by the last person she wants to see: her mother. Forced to move in with her parents until she recovers, Devi refuses to speak. Instead, she cooks . . . nonstop. And not the usual fare, but off the wall twists on Indian classics, like blueberry curry chicken or Cajun prawn biryani. Now family meals are no longer obligations. Devi’s parents, her sister, and her brother-in-law can’t get enough–and they suddenly find their lives taking turns as surprising as the impromptu creations Devi whips up in the kitchen each night. Then a stranger appears out of the blue. Devi, it appears, had a secret–-one that touches many a nerve in her tightly wound family. Though exposing some shattering truths, the secret will also gather them back together in ways they never dreamed possible. Interspersed with mouthwatering recipes, this story mixes humor, warmth, and leap-off-the-page characters into a rich stew of a novel that reveals a woman’s struggle for acceptance from her family and herself."
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Magic Seeds

By V.S. Naipaul

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Willie Chandran feels as though the life he lives is not his own. But his listlessness washes away in a flood of encouragement from his radically political sister. Inspired, he joins an underground liberation movement in India. But after years of revolution and incarceration, he grows disillusioned and returns to England, still hoping to find his true self.

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For Matrimonial Purposes

By Kavita Daswani

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"Anju has grown up in upper-middle-class Bombay, where even in the twenty-first century, arranged marriage is the norm. Her parents have been trying to find a suitable man for her since her late teens, but they keep turning up types who - shudder - wear shiny disco-era shirts, or want to carry her away to their family compound in Ghana, or are otherwise equally hopeless. The ones she likes, well, they just don't seem to fall for her."

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Desirable Daughters

By Bharati Mukherjee

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What does an Indian father do with three desirable daughters, well-educated, groomed, English speaking and beautiful? Advertise and control, of course. He needs three desirable husbands and he needs all three daughters to behave at all times like proper Indian ladies. This, mind you, in the 1970's! They all marry well, meaning money, connections and profession of the groom. What can happen when choice is taken away, lives are full of secrets, and East meets West makes for a wonderful cultural peek inside Indian life.

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Brick Lane

By Monica Ali

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"This is the deeply moving story of one woman, Nazneen, born in a Bangladeshi village and transported to London at age eighteen to enter into an arranged marriage. What could not be changed must be borne. And since nothing could be changed, everything had to be borne. This principle ruled her life. It was mantra, fettle, and challenge. Nazneen's inauspicious entry into the world, an apparent stillbirth on the hard mud floor of a village hut, imbues in her a sense of fatalism that she carries across continents when she is married off to Chanu, a man old enough to be her father. Nazneen moves to London and, for years, keeps house, cares for her husband, and bears children, just as a girl from the village is supposed to do. But gradually she is transformed by her experience, and begins to question whether fate controls her or whether she has a hand in her own destiny."

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