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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Novels set in India (we leave 'Shantaram' and 'Eat, Pray, Love' for another time....)

In order to understand India, where should a traveller start? Which area to explore first....? How to collate all the information to make a visit to this continent a truly memorable experience?

At TripFiction we want to add another dimension to your trip planning by suggesting some great reads set in the country. Oh, and what a struggle it was to choose a cross section of the titles from the many books we have gathered together under the umbrella of India. Many of you will be familiar not only with the hugely popular novels set in India, such as 'Shantaram'  and 'Eat Pray Love' (part set in India) - both of which give a brilliant and intimate insight into the ways of people of the country -  but also with the many  popular Indian authors like Ruth Prawer Jhabvala....Vikram Seth...Arvind Adiga...Salman Rushdie, who  all write so eloquently about people and places. So, we set about choosing books that we feel are very different, perhaps less well known, yet in their own individual and subtle ways conjure up the diversity of the country, the people and the customs and to our mind deserve increased readership.

And if you have read any novels set in India - which do not yet appear on our website then please do get in touch and suggest them if you feel they are particularly evocative of the country!

If you have ever felt peeved at the application process for an Indian visa, your pain will be contextualised by Siddhartha Deb's administrative nightmare in India, which began in an unfeasibly long queue under an unfeasibly hot sun, and ended in a near punch-up, with a visa no further in sight..... (and how wonderful is that pink sari on the cover?)

"A great book and brilliant for anyone who has an interest in India, or who is planning a trip - it gets behind the popular image" 

We plunge into the intimate life of Indian culture, with Vish Puri, skilled detective, and the the bowels of Indian life. This debut finds him checking out the suspiciously squeaky-clean groom of the daughter of a strict military man, ducking bullets from unknown assailants, and taking on a seemingly hopeless missing persons case.

"A brilliantly written, humorous tale that vividly captures the sounds, smells and foibles of modern India"

What might the author be looking for in this top starred novel? His wanderings in this book take him to a brothel in Bombay, to the Theosophical Society in Madras, to the library of a religious order in Goa...

"...he describes the places so that you can almost smell and hear what the author experiences"

One final suggestion is this book by Kamala Markandaya which we have loved but as we write, it is currently only available in India, so perhaps one to pick up when you are there!

In her first novel, Nectar in a Sieve, Kamala Markandaya explored the rural world of the Indian peasants of the post-war era, with their fatalistic acceptance of their precarious existence. In A Handful of Rice, originally published in 1966, she creates for the reader the world of that generation’s children who have moved to the city in search of a better life.

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