Books like double your dating
From classic novels that have been reprinted several times to Man Booker prize-winners and contemporary accounts of modern-day India, fiction offers a rich insight into India’s diverse culture and complex history.
While novels can often seem more realistic than non-fiction, travelogues from Western writers also give a humorous, insightful take on the mind-boggling country. Shantaram/The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts: £20, uk The Mountain Shadow, the hotly anticipated follow-up to Roberts’s publishing sensation Shantaram is due out in October, so if you’ve not read the 2003 novel, now is your chance.
City of Djinns is the first account of the British writer’s love affair with Delhi, where he has lived on and off for 25 years. Q&A by Vikas Swarup: £7.99, uk The novel that spawned the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire tells the story of a young waiter who becomes the biggest quiz show winner in history, only to be sent to prison after being accused of cheating.
Written more like a novel, the book follows various figures including his Sikh landlady, British survivors of the Raj and eunuch dancers. Written by an Indian diplomat, the novel was nominated for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo: £7.49, uk Written by a white American during her time living in Mumbai, this non-fiction book centres on one of the city’s biggest slums, following everyone from a young litter picker to a female “slumlord” and a university student.
The book was adapted into a play by David Hare in 2014. Twilight in Delhi by Ahmed Ali: £8.54, Written in 1940, this novel looks back to Delhi in the 1910s, drawing a vivid picture of Muslims living in old Delhi during that era.