The Greatest Indian "Fiction" Books Since 2000

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 264 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Family Life by Akhil Sharma

    Family Life is a poignant, semi-autobiographical novel that follows the experiences of an Indian family that immigrates to America in the late 1970s. Their dream of a better life is shattered when the older son suffers a terrible accident that leaves him brain-damaged. The story is narrated by the younger son, who struggles with the pressures of his parents' expectations, the trauma of his brother's condition, and the cultural dislocation of being an immigrant in America. The novel explores themes of family, love, loss, and the immigrant experience.

  2. 2. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

    "The White Tiger" is a darkly humorous novel set in modern-day India that explores the country's class struggle through the eyes of an ambitious and cunning protagonist. Born in a poor village, he moves to Delhi to work as a chauffeur for a rich family. He eventually breaks free from his life of servitude by committing an act of shocking violence, and uses his newfound freedom to become a successful entrepreneur in Bangalore. The story, told through a series of letters written to the Chinese Premier, is a scathing critique of India's social and economic disparities, and the corruption that permeates all levels of society.

  3. 3. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

    This novel explores themes of love, loss, and the human struggle for identity amidst political unrest. Set in India during the Nepalese movement for an independent state, the narrative follows the lives of a retired judge living in the Himalayas, his granddaughter, and his cook. As the political situation worsens, each character must grapple with their own personal issues, including the judge's regret over his failed marriage and his granddaughter's struggle to find her place in the world. The cook, meanwhile, dreams of a better life for his son in the United States. The narrative weaves together these individual stories to create a poignant tapestry of human resilience in the face of adversity.

  4. 4. Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi

    This novel delves into the complex and fraught relationship between a mother and daughter against the backdrop of contemporary India. The daughter, now an adult, grapples with her mother's advancing dementia and the bitter memories of a childhood marked by neglect and unconventional parenting. As the mother's memory deteriorates, the daughter is forced to confront the painful legacy of their past and the ambiguity of her filial obligations. The narrative weaves through themes of memory, betrayal, and the inextricable bond of family, painting a portrait of two women bound by love and resentment in equal measure.

  5. 5. Djinn Patrol On The Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

    Set in a sprawling slum in India, this novel follows nine-year-old Jai and his friends as they embark on a quest to find a missing classmate. As children in their community continue to disappear, Jai takes it upon himself to become a detective, determined to uncover the truth. Faced with poverty, corruption, and a society that disregards their plight, Jai and his friends navigate the complexities of their surroundings while grappling with their own fears and dreams. Through their eyes, the book explores themes of innocence, resilience, and the harsh realities of life in a marginalized community.

  6. 6. The Association Of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan

    "The Association of Small Bombs" by Karan Mahajan is a novel that explores the aftermath of a bomb blast in Delhi, India. The story follows the lives of two families affected by the tragedy, as well as the bomber himself. Through their perspectives, the novel delves into themes of grief, revenge, and the complexities of terrorism. Mahajan's writing is both intimate and expansive, offering a nuanced portrayal of the human impact of violence.

  7. 7. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

    "Unaccustomed Earth" is a collection of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri that explores the lives of Bengali immigrants and their children in the United States. The stories focus on themes of family, love, loss, and cultural identity as characters navigate the challenges of assimilation and the tensions between their American and Bengali identities. The collection is divided into two parts, with the first featuring interconnected stories about the experiences of two generations of a Bengali family, and the second featuring standalone stories that explore similar themes. Overall, the book offers a nuanced and poignant portrayal of the immigrant experience and the complexities of cultural identity.

  8. 8. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

    "Sea of Poppies" is a historical novel set in the 1830s, just before the Opium Wars. It traces the intertwined lives of a diverse group of characters, from a raja turned convict, a widowed poppy grower, a French orphan, to a mulatto American freedman, all of whom are brought together on the Ibis, a former slave ship now used for transporting opium. The story explores the social and economic impact of the opium trade, colonialism, and the caste system, while also delving into the personal histories, relationships, and struggles of the characters.

  9. 9. Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag

    "Ghachar Ghochar" is a compelling novella that explores the dynamics of a close-knit Indian family whose lives change dramatically after a sudden financial windfall. The story, narrated by an unnamed protagonist, examines the moral and emotional complexities that arise from their newfound wealth, leading to tension, corruption, and a disintegration of their former values. The title, a nonsense phrase coined by the family, symbolizes the tangled mess their lives have become - a situation so complicated that it's beyond any solution.

  10. 10. Q & A by Vikas Swarup

    The book is a gripping tale of a young Indian waiter who becomes the biggest quiz show winner in history, only to be arrested for cheating. Through a series of flashbacks and heart-wrenching stories, we learn how his life experiences provided him with the answers to the show's questions. Each chapter reveals a different episode of his past, from his childhood in the slums to various encounters that taught him lessons about love, betrayal, and survival, painting a vivid portrait of the struggle and resilience of life in contemporary India.

  11. 11. When Dreams Travel by Githa Hariharan

    "When Dreams Travel" is a thought-provoking novel that explores the complex themes of identity, memory, and the power of dreams. Set in India, the story follows the lives of three individuals from different backgrounds who are brought together by a shared dream. As they embark on a journey to uncover the truth behind their dreams, they are confronted with their own pasts and the interconnectedness of their lives. Hariharan's lyrical prose and vivid descriptions create a captivating narrative that delves into the depths of the human psyche and the universal longing for self-discovery.

Reading Statistics

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If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

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