Embracing creativity, learning about new and different worlds, and exploring the very undefined boundaries of modern literature. This is what a good book is all about. Whilst mainstream books achieve these goals, off-beat authors can often provide different perspectives and unique writing styles.
Today, we at Bookstr are going to India and exploring some of their authors who should be talked about more!
Literature is ingrained into Indian culture and heritage. Some of the oldest and most impactful tales in the world are said to have been written in India. The ancient Indian aptitude to put pen to paper has been successfully entrusted to later generations. The unique storytelling ability of Indian authors, inspired by their unique and diversified lives makes Indian literature a great source of knowledge. However, although there are some extremely famous Indian authors, a large number of very talented wordsmiths do not gain the international recognition that they ought to get. Here are some examples of some such authors and their most famous novels:
1. Sara Rai
Sara Rai hails from a family of extremely well-known Indian authors. Her recent and most widely acclaimed book, Raw Umber is about her life growing up in the 1960s with the expectation of living up to her elders (which she eventually did). It is a series of narrated essays and letters on people, places, and experiences that brought Sara Rai to where she was. Like most of her books, she talks about the simple complexities of ordinary Indian life and the weight of expectations. She combines with this, themes of gender, equality, and identity. Her lyrical prose and personal incorporations make her books truly unique reads.
2. Easterine Kire
Easterine Kire is a well-known author and poet from Nagaland, India. Her work primarily focuses on the life of the Naga people. However, her integration of social issues, cultural norms, societal rules, and identity, allows readers from nearly any background to relate to her work. One of her most widely known books in India is When The River Sleeps. The book is set in the mythical landscapes of Nagaland, India. The main protagonist is on a journey to find a holy river from which he would wrest a stone that would grant him immortality. The book offers insights into the culture and traditions of the Naga people.
Easterine Kire lived in political exile in Norway for 10 years due to the harassment she and her husband faced, during the violent regime in Nagaland, as a response to her novels. She finally returned to her home in 2015.
3. Janice Pariat
Janice Pariat is an Indian storyteller, known for her evocative and engrossing writing style. Her ability to make words come to life has won her several accolades over the years. Unfortunately, although her books gained recognition in India, she is not very well known outside its borders. Her most famous book is The Nine-Chambered Heart is a mosaic of several different characters whose lives intertwined and have a profound impact on the protagonist’s life. She delves into the grander impact of daily interactions, human relationships, and our desires.
Her other famous book is Boats On The Land, which is a collection of short stories describing and encapsulating the beauty within the Northeastern States of India. Although only her debut novel, her colorful imagery brought very unique characters and scenes to life and was widely recognized in India.
4. Aruni Kashyap
Aruni Kashyap is a writer of short stories, poetry, and novels from Assam, India. His poignant writing style aptly captures the nuances of human lives and the socio-political dynamics of his people, the Assamese. Much of his work is aimed at encapsulating the rich heritage, tradition, and customs buried in the Assamese people.
He is the author of several non-fiction short stories and essays about these themes. In addition to this, he has written 3 fictional novels, his most famous one being- The House With A Thousand Stories. This book is set in Assam and weaves together several stories that show Assam’s identity, sense of community, and resilience through political upheaval.
His other English book, His Father’s Disease is a compilation of several short stories about violence and the political conflicts that surrounded Assam. He is a versatile writer, but in all his works, he underlines issues that have and continue to impact the social, economic, and political landscape of Assam.
5. Manu Bhattathiri
Manu Bhattathiri is an Indian novelist and writer of short stories. His work has gained recognition for its humorous and witty compositions. His most famous work is a collection of short stories called Savithri’s Special Room And Other Stories. It has received critical acclaim across India for its portrayal of ordinary lives, filled with extraordinary moments and people. He offers a beautiful glimpse into the lives of several people and captures their hopes, their dreams, and their challenges.
He does this with humor, wit, and warmth making his books a joy to read! His other book, The Town That Laughed although not as well received compared to his debut novel, has amazing reviews and made The Hindu Times’ list of best books of 2018.
6. Githa Hariharan
Githa Hariharan’s debut novel The Thousand Faces Of Night won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for best first book. Her strong advocacy for women’s rights, equality, politics, gender, and social justice is portrayed in her novels. The Thousand Faces Of Night is a story of 4 different women over 4 different generations. The book offers an insight into the complexities of being a woman in Indian society over the years and an exploration of female identity.
In addition to this, another notable work of hers, When The Dreams Travel is about a young Indian woman making her way in a rapidly changing world. In the book, she navigates her way through love and independence, all while trying to achieve her hopes and dreams. Githa Hariharan is also the author of several non-fiction books, short stories, and essays. She is a talented writer and her work has gained traction within India. However, they have failed to get the much-deserved reception outside the borders of India.
This is the first article in a series of ‘Around The World With Bookstr’ where we will be exploring offbeat and lesser talked-about authors from various countries. Keep reading Bookstr content for more!