Sunday, October 2, 2011

India grown-up book

I am a self-professed Indian fiction junkie.  It did cross my mind with the busy upcoming month to just pick one of the fantastic books I've read before and pawn it off on Whirls and Twirls as a new read.  But that's not the point, right?

Instead, I've gone the other direction and picked out two new books. 

The first book is fiction:

Luka and the Fire of Life
by Salman Rushdie
I have to admit, I'm a little ambivalent about Salman Rushdie.  Twice I've started Midnight's Children,  considered by many to be his finest book (and the finest book of Indian fiction).  But I've never been able to finish it.  I usually finish my books and I usually love the kind of narrative that he writes, laden with juicy details that transport the reader to another place and time.  But there were just so many details I lost sight of the story and stopped caring about the characters and eventually just put the book down.  Twice.  So, why am I picking another Rushdie book?  Well, I loved another of his books - Haroun and the Sea of Stories, a mystical tale about a young boy and the power of story.  Luka and the Fire of Life is a sort of sequel.  Both books were written by Rushdie for his children and there is fable-like quality to them.

The second book is a memoir, a genre I'm really coming to enjoy:

Sideways on a Scooter: Life and Love in India
by Miranda Kennedy
It's written by an American woman who went to Delhi in her mid-20s, working as a reporter for NPR.  Having ventured to Delhi on my own in mid-20s, I am curious to read her take on it and revisit my own memories of my time there.  This memoir is specifically about the lives of several women that she met and befriended, and their outlook on love and marriage. 

And if neither of these are quite what you're in the mood for, I can highly recommend books by Amitav Ghosh, Rohinton Mistry, Vikram Seth, and Kiran Desai (among others).  Contact me for specific recommendations, I'm very happy to share.  

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