3 Insightful Novels Set in India

When it comes to India, there is no shortage of literature to be read about the subcontinent. There are countless books worth reading about country’s culture, history, and socio-economic climate. I have narrowed down the list to my top three picks. These novels provide enjoyable insight into one of the world’s most intriguing countries. Here are my three favourite books about India:

Shantaram’ by Gregory David Roberts 

Image source: Amazon

This novel captures into words the mystery and wonder of India. It epically brings to life the sights, sounds, and smells of Bombay, while revealing duality in the characters who live inside this fast-paced, mega city. The protagonist is an Australian fugitive who finds refuge in Bombay’s underworld. As he learns more about Indian culture, and gets to know the people, he inevitably falls in love with the country that teaches him a new way of life. From philosophical conversations with gangsters, to charity work in the slums, and warfare with the infamous Mujahideen, Lin Baba tells a tale which fascinates the mind, and captures the heart. 

The White Tiger’ by Aravind Adiga 

Image source: Amazon

This book tells the story of a poor Indian village boy who moves to the big city of Delhi in hopes of finding work. He gains employment as a chauffeur for a rich and corrupt businessman, and soon finds himself frustrated and furious in his job. Balram is faced with tough decisions as he has to decide how to respond to the boss who constantly undermines, criticizes, and humiliates him. This easy-read grapples with the not-so-easy topic of the power differential in modern-day India. 

A Passage to India’ by E.M. Forster 

Image source: Amazon

This classic story takes the reader on a journey back in time to colonial India, when the British held power, and Indians were subjected to unsolicited scrutiny. Dr. Aziz finds himself accused of a crime against a British woman, which he did not commit. As Dr. Aziz’s integrity is publicly questioned, his honorable name and career stand in jeopardy. This critically acclaimed novel brings to light the lesser known injustices committed against Indians during the imperial era.

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