Category: 5 out of 5 Indian settings

Indu Sundaresan’s — Twentieth wife

Indu Sundaresan’s — Twentieth wife

After a regime change in 14thcentury Persia, Ghia, along with his wife and children flee to Qandahar. There he meets a merchant heading to India. When they arrive, the merchant introduces Ghia to Emperor Akbar who soon employs him. Ghia believes his good fortune is due to his youngest daughter, Mehunnisa. At age eight, she first glimpses at Akbar’s son, Prince Salim at his wedding when her ambitions stir.

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Yann Martel’s — Life of Pi *****

Yann Martel’s — Life of Pi *****

A Man Booker prize winner, this novel traces Pi Patel’s journey from Pondicherry by sea. His father has brought the animals from the zoo they once owned in the coastal city, but not long into the journey, the boat sinks and Pi and a few of the animals are the only survivors.

While the movie of this book was beautifully filmed with a well chosen cast, it failed to capture the philosophical essence that made the book a memorable read.

Sujata Massey’s — The widows of Malabar Hill *****

Sujata Massey’s — The widows of Malabar Hill *****

Set in Mumbai in the 1920’s, Perveen works with her father in his law office, the only female solicitor in all of the city. When the Muslim women on Malabar Hill become widows, only Perveen can enter their section of the house to explain a document they’ve signed giving away their wealth.

This not only leads to a murder, but events from Perveen’s past failed marriage haunt her. A tale of intrigue with insight into both the Parsi and Muslim lives of the era.

Indu Sundaresan’s — The splendour of silence ******

Indu Sundaresan’s — The splendour of silence ******

Once Sam completes a rescue mission in Burma during 1942, he heads to Rudrakot after a plea from his mother back in Seattle, to find out what happened to his brother. In Rudrokot, he boards with the local Tamil political agent where he is drawn to Mila, the agent’s daughter who is expected to marry the state’s prince. Battling the loss of his brother, his growing love for Mila, a wound from his time in Burma, and the prejudice the British and Indians hold against mixed relationships, Sam discovers he cannot win all he desires.

Katherine Boo’s — Behind the beautiful forevers *****

Katherine Boo’s — Behind the beautiful forevers *****

A cast of characters in Annawadi slums near Mumbai’s airport are hopeful when India’s economy starts to bloom. Some are metal thieves, others collect recyclable garbage, but when their day is done, they live in close proximity to everyone so that there are few secrets.

This is a must read with the focus on a Muslim family striving for a better life. It reads like fiction, but was actually the author’s observations and research during her three years living in Mumbai.

Anita Rau Badami’s — Hero’s Walk *****

Anita Rau Badami’s — Hero’s Walk *****

What happens when you lose the most precious person in your life — a daughter? This is the agonizing dilemma Sripathi, living in India, finds himself in when he learns of his daughter and her husband’s death in Canada. Soon their daughter, Nandana arrives and Sripathi has to come to terms with his loss. Continue reading “Anita Rau Badami’s — Hero’s Walk *****”