Traveling in India is as taxing as it is inspiring, as frustrating as it is easy, and as intriguing as it is overwhelming. Laden with a deep culture that cannot be observed and that is never talked about, its hard to understand what’s going on around you as a traveler in India. So how do you get to the bottom of it? Read!
Indian authors with experience abroad or expats that have spent years in India are often best able to convey these complex themes in the form of literature. Whether you’re about to embark on a journey to India, have always wanted to, or are simply looking for a good read, here are 5 books about India for you to dive into:
- The White Tiger - by Aravind Adiga: The White Tiger is a tragic yet humorous tale of one boy’s rise in India’s impenetrable social hierarchy through hard work, perseverance, and… murder.
- The God of Small Things – by Arundhati Roy: In The God of Small Things, the author sheds light on the country’s adoration of Western values through the story of one Indian family. The novel traces the evolution of the family structure as the family grows apart after a tremendous loss.
- Life of Pi - by Yann Martel: The son of a zookeeper is set adrift on a life raft with wild animals when their trans-oceanic ship sinks. Though the majority of the story is set at sea, the reader is exposed to various elements of Indian culture through stories from the protagonist’s childhood in India and how life circumstances changed.
- Holy Cow! - by Sarah Macdonald: A cynical recount of one young woman’s return to India after a miserable Indian backpacking experience in her youth, Holy Cow is interesting if not the most serious of reads. While the tone is often sardonic and a bit harsh, Macdonald doesn’t hide any of the details or critiques of modern India.
- Shantaram - by Gregory Roberts: Shantaram depicts one man’s moral development in India after escaping from an Australian prison. This book is SUCH a page turner that it won’t take you as long as you’d think to read its 900+ pages.
Have any great books about India to recommend to other travelers? Tell us about them in the comments section below or on Facebook! (Click here if you can’t see the comments: Trying to Understand India: 5 Best Books about India)