The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga:
Its the ManBooker Prize winner for 2008.Do I need to elaborate more on the quality?But its a dark book.One with no whites,no blacks but an all pervasive grey. Balram Halwai doesnt accept his fate to be limited to working in chai stalls in a remote Indian village and makes his way to Gurgaon as the driver of a affluent America-returned family.His master Ashok is forever in a turmoil between his ideals and greasing the palms of babu-dom which enables his to lead his life of luxury. Balram doesnt plan to remain a driver forever. He wants his share of India shining. And there is only one way to get it. By killing Ashok.
Earning the laundry stripes by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar:
Noor is the first women Area sales manger recruited into the all boys sales club of Hindustan Lever. From Gulita based induction to TSO stint in upcountry areas to rural stint in Etah to subcharge. To eccentric Redistribution Stockists to Lux ad shoots, if you have been a mangement trainee in the FMCG industry you will find yourself laughing and nodding in agreement as the heroine tumbles into adventure after adventure.
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri:
Pulitzer winning writer returns with a novel that would strike a cord with anyone who has left hometown to earn a living. The story of a Bengali family in US, it could be the story of anyone of the million immigrants. The first generation struggles to keep the traditions they grew up with alive in a distant land, while the second generation would rather adopt the ways of the land where they were born but end up fitting neither here nor there.It is essentially the search for identity of those who perhaps never knew the meaning of roots.
The Zoya factor by Anuja Chauhan:
The lady behind “yeh dil maange more” pens a book. Full of witty one-liners, this a light read that lifts your spirits as it traces the story of Zoya who was born the exact moment India won the 1983 cricket world cup. And that bestows her with an incredible luck that the Indian cricket board is keen to exploit. But the new dashing, strong but silent,handsome(!yeah I know!!) captain doesnt seem particularly keen to have Zoya Devi accompanying the lads. Or does he? Its a fun read and trying to guess whose who in real life.
Q&A by Vikas Swarup:
A diplomat with our mission in SA, Swarup’s book has been the inspiration behind the now famous Slumdog Millionaire. A waiter from Mumbai wins the biggest gameshow jackpot by correctly answering 12 questions. And each question has a backstory. It is a leap of faith to imagine one single individual experiancing everything from murder,sodomy,child-trafficking to prostitution but each story in itself is a delightful vignette. A warmhearted look at Indian pyramids bottom.
Escape by Manjula Padmanabhan:
After a long time did I finish a book in 6 straight hours! A science fiction at that! Set in future in unnamed country (though you can make out its India) where women have been exterminated, its the story of one girl bought up in secrecy by her 3 uncles. After years of feeding her hormone suppresents they finally decide its best for her to escape to a world where women still survive. With her youngest uncle Meiji,our protagonist sets out to freedom. This is the story of the escape. My only gripe with the author is that she has set up the novel for sequel and that left one feeling very unsatisfied!
Currently reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. This book is a hit in the US with critics comparing the author to JKRowling. It has been made into a successful motion picture and has spawned 4 sequels.
I realise I have recently fallen in love with Indian writing in English.