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20 Best Selling Indian Novels You Must Read

Discover the literary treasures of India with "20 Best Selling Indian Novels You Must Read" on Frontlist. Immerse yourself in captivating stories.
on Jan 19, 2021
20 Best Selling Indian Novels You Must Read | Frontlist

Writing is an art, and not everyone is blessed with that talent. Writers write on various topics of their choice and readers choose them based on their interests. We have writers all across the globe who have provided us with classics, thrillers, fiction, sentiments, entertainment and many more varieties. Among the classics, the Indian classics stand different as they are deeply expressive, rich and culturally embedded. We shall discuss here about a few of the top Indian novels that should be read at least once by all book lovers.

1. The God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy:

A debut novel by Arundhati Roy which is a modern classic and stands as one of the best celebrated Indian Novels on both the national and international platforms. The story revolves around two twins Estha and Rahel who lives in Kerala. The novel depicts about the life of these twins and how it changes with the arrival of their cousin Sophie. It narrates an emotional tale of love, betrayal, kinship ties. The political predisposition is also vividly expressed through this text as the novel says about caste, class and discrimination. The God of Small Things is an award winning novel that set a landmark for Roy in her career.

2. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry:

This is Mistry`s second novel and express the time between 1975 and 1984, a period of the expanded government crackdowns and when the government has declared a State of Emergency. The novel explains how four strangers come together. Two tailors, a spirited widow and a young student, who fled the caste violence and come together into a cramped apartment and holds an uncertain future in front of them. The bond that is formed eventually among them, which leads from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates a long-lasting view of the human spirit.

3. Shadow Lines by Amitav Gosh:

Amitav Gosh is an award winning Bengali writer. Shadow Lines is a vitalizing story about the borders that mark and limit our imaginations. It captures perspective of time and events and brings and keeps apart people, both at the same time. It is woven around the memories of one and hence becomes the imagination of another. Therefore this novel basically unwinds the imagination of the reader himself. This novel has a consistent reference the major historical events like The Second World War, Swadeshi Movement, The partition of India and many more. The book also had won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1989.

4. Midnight`s Children by Salman Rushdie

A book that deals with the transition of India from British Colonization to freedom and partition. The story revolves around Sakeem Sinai, who was born at the stroke of midnight when India got her independence and later as he grows, how he feels himself linked to almost everything that happens with his native country. The novel says about thousands of children that are born at the initial hours, especially on that particular day he was born and how they are gifted exceptionally. Using his telepathic powers tries to get all these children together. It was awarded the Booker of Bookers in 1993 and the best all time prize winners in 2008. Even today, this novel stands apart as a brilliant performance in fiction.

5. Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai:

A novel which deeply portrays the life of daughters in an Indian family. The story revolves around one among the daughters, Uma in the family and how she is being suffocated and imprisoned by her parents. She is considered as a worthless child when compared to her siblings and all the praises are for her brother especially. Thus novel clearly shows the life of women and the sacrifices she has to make for the happiness of the others in the family and eventually suppressing her aspirations and desires. The book was short-listed for the Booker Prize award in 1999.

6. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri:

The novel beautifully unwinds the immigrant experience, the difference in cultures, lifestyle, the conflict in adjusting to the difference of customs and above all the huge gap among the generations. Lahiri has explained the story very simply through the life of a Bengali family who changes base from Calcutta to America and how coping life with the western culture gets tough for this hard core Indian family. It all begins when it comes to name their son and how they name him with an old fashioned traditional name, that later shape many aspects of his life in the later years. In the novel, Lahiri explains how parents impose on children their thoughts and believes and at times, children find it embarrassing when they are grown up. But towards the end, through love, hatred, pain finally the boy realizes the importance of what his father actually meant and how he regrets his life then. The Namesake is a fine tuned, intimate, and a deeply felt novel.

7. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth:

The longest novel ever published in a single volume is what “A Suitable Boy” is. It is basically a story that depicts the Indian culture where parents seek suitable alliances for their daughters and sons. This is written in the post independence, post partition era. The novel not only covers the search for a suitable boy, but also covers other issues like Hindu-Muslim rivalry, elimination of the Zamindari System and empowerment of Muslim women. A beautiful story, but does require lot of patience to complete reading this great novel.

8. Truly , Madly, Deeply by Faraaz Kazi:

A simple teenage love story is what this novel is about. A very popular guy, Rahul falls head over heels with a shy lady, Seema. He is so much in love that, due to his pompous nature, it gets noticed. This creates an uneasy atmosphere for Seema and gradually with a series of misunderstandings and ego clashes they drift apart. When Rahul realizes that he has lost everything including Seema`s love, it becomes too late. He tries to win her love back. Will it succeed? The novel is all about love and does real love really conquer all odds. As a first time writer, Kazi has done a great job with his “Truly, Madly Deeply”.

9. Train To Pakistan by Khushwant Singh:

This is a historical novel which recounts the Partition of India in 1947. Here the writer does not mean the physical partition alone, but partition providing a human dimension. In the novel, Singh writes beautifully that even though the Sikhs and Muslims did not like each other, they lived in harmony and peace in the village where they have been for generations and it was the separation that bought all the tragedy, in the name of religion. Singh explains that it is the deeds of man that distinguishes him as good or bad and not his religion, custom, caste or creed. A novel that clearly gives moral values to the reader is what the “Train to Pakistan” is all about.

10. Life of Pi by Yann Martel:

This is an adventure novel by Martel that explains how an Indian boy survives a shipwreck after 277 days and his only companion was a Bengal tiger in a boat in the Pacific ocean. It basically shows the belief, faith, meditation that makes the boy survive and what it means to be alive. The novel revolves around how life changes for Pi, when his family gets drowned with the ship that they boarded to go to Canada and only he along with a few other animals survive the disaster. It is then the long days that he survives in the open ocean that is being described. The pain, agony, fear and boredom and the challenge of existence all put together is how Pi passes his days. Martel has put in simple story format the power of God and imagining that he is beside you all the time.

11. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri:

This novel depicts about the Indian American life and how they deal with the mixed culture environment. The book basically narrates the story among three generations, the father, the daughter and the grandson. Basically it depicts the Indian heritage system, where the daughter, Ruma leaves behind her successful career for her family and takes the responsibility to look after her widowed father. The novel describes that both the father and daughter have changed their thoughts about traditional customs, yet they do not reveal to each other. The grandson however Likes what his grandfather is currently and follows him. This novel is both cultural and universal. It clearly emphasizes the lack of communication between a father and daughter and the complications that arises because if it. Lahiri is a Pulitzer Prize winning author.

12. Delayed Monsoon by Chitralekha Paul:

This is a simple novel which describes how a woman feels when she has found her long awaited passion being fulfilled. The main character in this book is a housewife and mother, Abhilasha. She has finally stepped into the world of internet. It is exactly how one feels when the first rain drops hit the earth and the aroma of mud fills soak the air. The rejuvenation, the spirit, the enthusiasm all that is being felt here. A story around an Air officers wife, who tries to know what happens behind the closed gates and how she gets involved into a complex puzzle that she will have to solve by herself.

13. The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh:

The novel is basically set in Burma, which focus mainly on the 20th century. The name of the novel actually originates from the Glass Palace Chronicle, which is an old historic Burmese work. The novel is based on an Indian boy who is forced to go to Burma and who aspires to build an empire in Burma. He meets his love, when the royal family is asked to leave the Glass palace and years later when he becomes a successful business man, he goes in search of her. The journey of his search through places like Malaya, India and Burma is what is being explained here in a very beautiful manner, where at the end he meets his love and they reunite.

14. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai:

This novel has won a number of awards. The main theme of the novel includes, migration, living between the past and present and between two different worlds. A great novel that depicts the lifestyle of the Indian culture and the Western culture, which shows how people forget their roots easily, once they step into another country and money flows. This is clearly explained through the judge’s character, where he even leaves his family, for not liking the western culture and he himself hates the Indian culture. A clean novel which makes one realizes the value of heritage and culture, no matter where you are.

15. Swami and Friends by R.K. Narayan:

This novel is Narayan`s first novel and is set in the pre-independence days. This novel is the story of a 10 year old boy who is mischievous, innocent and his experiences of growing in an imaginary town of Malgudi. He is in a school that mainly emphasis on Christianity, education and Literature, but these gets changed with the entry of another boy who is symbol of colonial power and becomes his close friend.

16. The Guide by R K Narayan

This is one of his most interesting books, which begins as a comic and later becomes serious at the life of rouge. Here Narayan says that westerners believe that all Indians are hard core Hindu believers, but that is not the scenario. Yet people do believe in their God in a respectable amount. This novel had won him the national prize of the Indian Literary Academy.

17. Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra

A great novel with incomparable power and richness which revolves around the life of a Police Officer and an underworld Criminal. The novel gets the reader the thrills as the story unwinds. It holds a connection with all faces of life in today’s Mumbai and how we all live with it.

18. Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry:

This novel beautiful tell us the story of family love and obligation. The demands of tradition and a possibility for consideration. The story revolves around a father affected with Parkinson’s disease and his step children as to who will look after the ill father. This novel has all the richness and humor that have earned Mistry the highest tribute in the world.

19. Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat

This is a beautiful novel that teaches good moral values and subjects to be thought off. The novel revolves around three friends who meet at the IIT campus and thereafter their IITian lifestyle and how they try breaking the chains of students that have been tied to the IITian culture for very long. A beautiful novel that should be a must read one.

20. The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh:

A simple novel that depicts the life of a young marine biologists who explores the Sundarbans with people who helps her in translation and other factors, who come sin search of rare species of dolphin. Together they travel and explore and understand what they have come for. A simple, yet a classy book this is.   Source: Share Your Essays

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