20 Indian Fiction Books You Must Read In Your 20s

Shiralie Chaturvedi | September 15, 2017 14:57 IST

Indian Fiction has long been marred with a sense of overbearing familiarity and monotony that never quite comes from the authors and their work but from the people who consume the literature. Few authors, fewer classics, and we are left to assume that the narrative - the tenor -the characters - the plotlines are variations of one another transcending distinguishing genres and settling for something that rings a bell.

However that's far from the truth, Indian fiction (not the popular one, obviously) is full of literary gems that you wish to jump across from and grasp its glory word for word. And our selection of these books will help you navigate the vulnerable period that is your 20s and leave an impact that traces a lifetime.

1. The Romantics: Pankaj Mishra
For when you want to read about the banks of the Ganges in Benaras that provide a stage for those looking for respite; from themselves, from redundancy, and from parochialism.



2. Last Song of Dusk: Siddharth Dhanvant Sanghvi
For when you want to understand the love between a man and woman under the cocoon of marriage, but still prone to tragedies that will to change the fabric of that very love.


3. The Lovers: Amitava Kumar
For when you want to venture into that buried life story of your first few love-stories, and the people you met, and the mentors you had and how every arch of love was a new perspective.


4. An Equal Music: Vikram Seth
For when you want to cry. For when you want to feel your heart exposed, your gut picked apart, and your vulnerability exploited.

equal music

5. English, August: Upamanyu Chatterjee
For when you need that wry humour, that crazy wit that exposes all our hopes for our own self and the evolution of our ideas -from banishing what we learn as adolescents to how we practice it later.


6. Gaban: Munshi Premchand
For when you want a reprieve from the overriding guilt and a nudge to confront your insecurities.


7. Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard: Kiran Desai
For when you simply want to remember the days of abandon of your childhood.

blue book

8. Almost Single: Advaita Kala
For when you need to know how an Indian chick-lit can get written without overusing tropes akin to Western literature.


9. The Zoya Factor: Anuja Chauhan
For when your luck becomes the entirety of life, becoming charming to some but a burden on your own self.


10. Chaos Theory: Anuvab Pal
For when you want to reminisce about your true love, the first love you ever head, the soulmate you met along, the star-crossed lover you called home.


11. Elm and The Big Hoom: Jerry Pinto
For when the world is too much for you. When you want to close your ears and shout a silent yell. For when you need support and counsel.


12. Selection Day: Aravind Adiga
For when you needed to understand how cricket actually makes and breaks the sense of self of so many young kids; even if it manifests itself in more worldly avatars.


13. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows: Balli Kaur Jaswal
For when you want a raucous laughter leading to tears because nothing this raw, this crazy, this wonderful has been written about a group that is quite stigmatized.

erotic stories

14. No Other World: Rahul Mehta
For when your idea about homogeneity and inclusion needs a fresh perspective.

the other book

15. Palace of Illusions: Chitra Banerjee
For when you want to read about mythical in a way that it gives specks of reality all strewn across your mind.


16. Maharani: Ruskin Bond
For when you want to bask in the knowledge of how fleeting happiness can be, and how that is not in your control, and how you ultimately have to live on.

ruskin bond

17. Maximum City: Suketu Mehta
For when you want an encapsulation of a city as bright and big as the dream of people who inhabit it.

maximum city

18. Born Confused: Tanuja Desai Hidier
For when you are unusually proud of being a woman full of grit, glitter, and gullibility.

born confused


19. The Way Things Were: Aatish Taseer
For when your identity of self is throttled at the behest of your legacy, and how you can reclaim a sense of self.

the way things were

20. The Namesake: Jhumpa Lahiri
For when you want to feel human, and reminded that you may change the paradigm of your life but your roots never leave you.



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