Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My affair with Indian authors

My affair with Indian writers started recently. i realised about a year back how the presence of books by Indian authors had become ubiquitous. i know there have been stalwarts like Jhumpa Lahiri, Anita Nair, Jaisree Misra, Amitav Ghosh etc who have been writing serious prose. But i am talking about the fresh wave of authors in the last few years. Ravinder Singh, Preeti Shenoy, Durjoy Dutta, Sudeep Nagarkar to name a few. It's heartening to see that the times are so fertile to encourage new writing talent. These are all young people, mostly in their 20s and are published authors. Their books, set in contemporary times, are pretty easy read. They write for the common man who an identify with the college or office setting of the books. The characters are also of today's generation with cell phones and skype ids.

Whenever i flipped through pages of these books in my library, my general impression was that these books are so easy to write. All of them appeared to be the same. There was a particular recognisable non-literary, if i may call that, style of writing in these books. My real exploration began when i bought a load of books on Amazon sale last month plus the range of books by these authors that my local library has. (Which is also another source that helped me notice Indian authors who happened to be on the book stores shelves too)

i realised that some of it is the result of someone hacking away at his/her keyboard. But some others definitely managed to carry me away with them. Out of the books i have read so far, the one i'd choose to say a good one would be "I too had a love story" by Ravinder Singh. The story talks about a couple in courtship. You can really feel the emotions as the book progresses. You are anxious or happy when the characters go through the same feelings. Even though the narrative does slow down a bit in the second half, the story very well salvages itself towards to
the end giving the it the much needed push to keep up the readers' interest. The style of writing is breezy and with a decent reading speed, one should be able to finish it in a day.

The one i wasn't impressed with is the second book i read by the author Durjoy Dutta. i discovered him among the books in my library shelf and liked the one i read first - "Hold my hand". But this one - "She broke up, I didn't" came across to me as pointless narrative about issues i didn't find serious enough to worry about. The book is set in a college with students as the main characters. i think of college as a fun time as opposed to being deeply involved in relationships. So when things go haywire among the characters, i don't feel for them. Sometimes the narrative just seems to talk about the day to day college life of these characters and you wonder - so what's the point?? Gradually you realise that the author is, unconvincingly so, trying to show how does one react to infidelity (a stupid kiss with someone other than one's boy/girlfriend in the book). Is it the same for the boy and the girl to indulge in such behaviour? Since those relationships did not come across as serious to me in the first place - i am like grow up guys, you are still in college - it was hard for me to get involved in this whole debate. Or think of it as a turning point in the novel.  i thought the equations were too easy. The girlfriend leaves and the guy starts to live with someone else, stays with her rather.  He loves the other woman but has no qualms having a bit on the side with this woman also. And this guy hasn't even started his first job yet. So all said and done by 20, dude?? i may be a little harsh in my judgement of the book here but this is exactly how i felt. Beyond a point i just wanted to be over with the book rather than reading it because i liked it.

i have a shelf full of more authors to read up. Watch out this space for more. You can also drop your comments at @pseudopunju on Twitter or leave a line on the blog comment.


  1. Suman u shld also read books by Ravi Subramaniam, if u haven't already. The books are fiction on the background of banking sector in India.. Some of his books.. If God Was a Banker, Bankster and other r international bestsellers.. Go grab a copy!!

  2. Thanks for the comment Shiv! I have read most Ravi Subramanium books. One of the best Indian authors with a real plot and suspense. Really enjoyed reading his books. Keep the suggestions coming though!

  3. I haven't tried any of these new authors. Maybe a good time to start.

  4. I've always found Indian authors slightly off the mark as compared to the level of fiction as compared to the quality of fiction coming from other parts of the world. shitty books form india