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A Nation in Narrative - Indian Fiction

See India through fictional stories that capture the liveliness, darkness , and complexity of a country with a rich cultural history.

 

Between the Assassinations

This collection of short stories is meant to capture an image of a city teeming with life. Each of the 14 stories begins with a walk around a different section of the small Indian city of Kittur, then hones in on deeper issues facing its people, such as religious and class conflict. The stories are thought-provoking and sensitive, and often deeply disturbing.

 

Haunting Bombay

A curious thirteen-year-old opens a mysterious door in her family's bungalow, releasing the ghosts of an infant girl and her maid. Her already dysfunctional family is thrown into further turmoil as they are forced to address three generations worth of secrets.

 

The Sound of Water: A Novel

An Indian coal mining disaster is shown from three excruciating perspectives: a miner hundreds of feet below the surface trying to save himself and his coworkers from drowning, the officials attempting to rescue them, and the families the miners have left behind.

 

The Immortals

In the world of upper class Bombay, the members of a family embark on a quest to satisfy their ambitions. A CEO father, a mother with a musical gift, and a philosophical son all get their say in this story that is ultimately not only the narrative of a family, but of Bombay itself.

 

The Dark Holds No Terrors

An Indian woman leaves an abusive husband and returns to her family home. Instead of finding sanctuary there, she is forced to confront the issues of her brother's drowning, her late mother's resentment and cruelty, and her now elderly father, who treats her with indifference.

 

Atlas of Unknowns

Two sisters from an eccentric family are painfully separated when one wins a scholarship to study in America. Thousands of miles apart, both sisters struggle with a search for identity and independence. When the departed sister goes missing, it's up to the one left behind to travel overseas and try to find her, and to rebuild their damaged relationship in the process.

 

The Blue Notebook: A Novel

After a brothel's proprietor drops a pencil, a fifteen-year-old girl picks it up and starts recounting the story of her life. Sold into prostitution at age nine, Bartuk nevertheless manages to create a cheerful, engaging world for herself through her writing. Her lighthearted narrative stands in stark contrast to the dark reality she faces.

 

The God of Small Things

On one fateful night, a child is killed, and the twin cousins she was with are the only ones that know the truth about her death. An exploration of the familial tensions that led to their behavior is underscored by a consideration of the way the childish mind interprets reality, all under the shadow of Communism's rattling influence during the late 1960s.

 

The Weight of Heaven: A Novel

After a couple's seven-year-old son dies suddenly, their marriage goes downhill. When they move to a new town, they are separated even further by her newfound social life and his misery at his job. Their plight is then complicated by the entrance of a boy who acts as a surrogate son, bringing them both joy and deep suffering.