A list of recommended fictions
The Revenge of the Non-Vegetarian by Upamanyu Chatterjee
Thirty years after the success of English, August, Upamanyu Chatterjee returns with a potboiler full with beef politics, civil service absurdities, and his trademark black comedy. The account of a Bengali bureaucrat who vows to remain vegetarian till a killing is solved, Chatterjee’s latest is a brilliant play of meat, murder, and morality.
That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam
Rumaan Alam’s sophomore release is an intimate and nuanced take on motherhood. Set in the American ’80s, it follows Rebecca, a poet and wife of a diplomat, as she struggles with the unpleasant ramifications of cross-racial adoption. Alam inhabits bodies unlike his with the deftness of a djinn.
Surya-Dighal Bari by Abu Ishaque
Abu Ishaque’s 1955 classic, a story of a woman singlehandedly fighting the odds of poverty, prejudice, male domination, and religious bigotry, is a magisterial account of our history in all its stark realism. Abu Ishaque manages to portray Bengal in all its heteroglossic ambiance.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer winning novel about an author finding success through his failures is his best yet. The story of a novelist accepting every literary invitation around the world to escape his ex’s wedding, it is glittering, engrossing, and hilarious.
Moyur Shinghashon by Shaheen Akhtar
Shaheen Akhtar’s fourth novel, on Shah Shuja’s flight from Rajmahal toward Teknaf has all the grandiosity of the Mughals. Written in her usual immaculate and fresh prose, Akhtar dazzles her readers with her talent for captivating storytelling.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
Ottessa Moshfegh’s new literary output is as bold and refreshing as her previous Eileen. Moshfegh perorates on the millennial anxieties and absurdities better than any of her generation. My Year of Rest and Relaxation expresses the embrace of apathy and woeful depression with the caustic wit it deserves.
The Perfect Nanny by Leila Silmani
The French-Moroccan author’s Prix Gon-court winning novel deals with parents coming home to find their children killed by their nanny. As is expected, the book itself feels claustrophobic, as if in danger. It’s disturbing, sparse, playing with co-dependence in ways frustrating and violent.
Girls Burn Brighter by Sobha Rao
The Katherine Anne Porter Prize winner Sobha Rao’s Girls Burn Brighter is a searing, electrifying debut novel set in India and America, about a once-in-a-lifetime friendship between two girls who are driven apart but never stop trying to find one another again.