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10 Great Indian Novels of All Time

Kumar Paral is a writer, a culture enthusiast, and a bibliophile.

Top 10 Famous Indian English Novels of All Time

Indian English literature has a history of more than two centuries. It has been part of the great tradition of world literature due to large number of celebrated authors who write in English and their astonishing talents which create wonders in the world of fictional imagination. As Indian English novels are both regional and global at the same time, they are appreciated by readers regardless of their national identities. Indian English writers have won many international recognition and awards - from Man Booker Prize to the Nobel Prize. Among various genres of Indian English literature, novel is the most accepted form both in India and abroad. Besides, it is the literary form in which hundreds of writers express their creative talents. Indian English novels - Top 10 English Novels of All Time is a list of my favourite Indian English Fiction.

Arundhati Roy, Indian Writer

Arundhati Roy, Indian Writer

The God of Small Things

Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things, which won The Man Booker Prize for fiction in 1997, is regarded as classic in the world literature. The novel pictures the pathetic plight of “small things” in the world as they are always oppressed and exploited by the big. Arundhathi Roy narrates the story of Ammu, whose life parallels with author's own life and the novel is set in the village of Ayemenem, Kerala. The novel is a scathing critique on untouchability, inhuman police administration, gender discrimination, and hypocritical moral codes of patriarchal societies.

The White Tiger

The White Tiger is a novel that astonishes the readers by its narrative strategies which go beyond conventional story telling methods. It tries to find out the role of the poor in the world of unethical business and murky politics which are hand in hand with agents of corruption and oppressors of the downtrodden. The novel is a replica of contemporary Indian politics. The protagonist shares his anguishes and anxieties with the Chinese premier in a prolonged letter. The story evolves through the letter which compels the reader to finish it in one sitting. Aravind Adiga's debut novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize in 2008.

Kiran Desai, Indian Writer

Kiran Desai, Indian Writer

The Inheritance of Loss

Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss is a grand narrative which encompasses the socio- cultural milieu of India and Nepal. It won Booker Prize for fiction in 2006. The novel deals with a number of themes: love, insurgency, identity crisis, existential fragmentation. Through this novel, Kiran Desai tries to portray the inherent contradictions in desires of individual and society. This novel excels due to Desai's endeavour to depict the harsh realities of rustic life in its true colours with a touch of irony and humour.

The Coolie

Mulk Raj Anand's Coolie is renowned for social realism and truthful account of problems of members of the lower strata of the society. The journey of child protagonist from poverty and starvation to inhuman exploitation of various forms has been depicted in this novel. The novel renders the universal conflict between the rich and the poor in the world objectively.

The Guide

The Guide” is the most celebrated novel of R K Narayan, the first major Indian English fiction writer, who won the attention of readers abroad. The Guide explores the truths in the unexplored depths of human mind, which nobody like to reveal to others. The novel portrays the transformation of an individual and the role of fate in human life. R K Narayan creates Malgudi, a fictional world, where the story evolves. Finally, Raju, the protagonist, who has committed many sins, but has been considered as a divine person by villagers, decides to sacrifice his life for the community as a way of salvation.

The Kanthapura

Kanthapura, written by Rajarao, is a well known novel which depicts the Gandhian influence on the Indian freedom movement. The novel's success is mostly due to the narrative technique which the writer appropriated from the tradition of Harikatha. Rajarao gathered the materials for his novel from history, culture and political movements of pre-independent India. The writer pictures an ideal Indian village, Kanthapura, where the story takes place. Kanthapura is one of the gems of Indian English literature.

A Suitable Boy

Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy is considered as one of the longest novels in Indian English literature. The novel deals with the life and aspirations of members of Indian middle class in the post independent period. The plot of the novel revolves around a search for a suitable match for a girl and it presents the contemporary India realistically. The socio – political happenings of India after independence have been narrated in epic grandeur in this novel.

So Many Hungers

So Many Hungers is regarded as the masterpiece of Babani Battacharya. Indian freedom struggle, partition, and Bengal famine are the major themes of So Many Hungers. The novel portrays the trails and tribulations of people belonged to different strata of society during the great tragedy of 20th century – Bengal famine, in which lives of two million poor people were sacrificed. Babani Battacharya depicts agonies, cruelties, frustrations, privations, and uncertainties of common man during great tragedies in which they have no control.


The Revolution 2020

Chetan Bhagat is one of the most popular novelist of India today. All of his novels are best sellers. The author tries to reveal one of the great tragedies of contemporary India – corruption. The Revolution 2020 is a scathing attack on diverse forms of corruption in India, by which the common men are suffering and struggling to cope with. Though the plot of the novel revolves around a triangular love affair, the attitude of the author to one of the greatest evil of present-day India make it an outstanding novel.

Cry, The Peacock

“Cry, The Peacock”, one of the most renowned Indian English novels, is written by Anita Desai. The novel explores the mind of a very sensitive young woman. The neurotic female protagonist suffers from alienation and existential crisis. Anita Desai has succeeded in the delineation of characters and their mind through psychological realism and fragmented vision in this novel.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Kumar Paral


George on October 24, 2015:

Wow! Chetan Bhagat appears here too. There is no doubt that he can write and has talent but I do not think any of his works can be counted here. I mean God Of Small Things, White Tiger, Guide etc. and then you count Revolution 2020. It's an enjoyable read no doubt but not a classic. Would you count a No Entry, a Coolie No. 1 in the same league as HAHK, DDLJ, Devdas, Satya. It's not the question of genre it's about being a classic or not.

ramyaa on October 07, 2015:

It awesome

Aditya chaturvedi on June 12, 2015:

your very nice book

shivani on May 10, 2015:

i like most of our writers nd novels which are so nice.

ooviya dhanu on September 17, 2014:

its really amazing to have such a great authors in our country

kanaparthi sunny from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh on July 20, 2014:

GREAT,Proud To Be An Indian.

Ak singh on July 11, 2014:

Brought the truth of society in great way.

Tuna panda on June 25, 2014:

I'm proud of reading some English novels by our Indian writers .

Soumya Ranjan on May 29, 2014:

The way of thinking & representation of fact is high so i feel proud for Indian writer .

prashant.patil on May 20, 2014:

I feel very happy because our Indian writer also gave most famous works to world.

akhilesh on May 11, 2014:

I wish for all indian author that he write a great thngs nd with many opinion...

Ashutosh Tiwari from Lucknow, India on April 02, 2014:

hey ! nice presentation.

Chetan Bhagat had been my favorite in past.

Impressed with Kiran Desai.

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