The God of Small Things
By Arundhati Roy
It is a powerful story, and one of the things that make it extraordinary is the author’s ability to convey the world through the eyes of her two young protagonists, without resorting to sentimentality. There is a mixture of innocence and experience, magic and wisdom. Her linguistic pyrotechnics are quite wonderful too.
Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard
By Kiran Desai
What is most striking about Desai’s first book is its humour and humanity. It is at once a comedy and a deadly, dark story. The preposterous storyline completely captured my imagination.
By Ardashir Vakil
From the very first sentence: “I was eight when I encountered the friendly elephants,” this novel enchanted me. It is the story of a young Parsi boy, Cyrus Readymoney. Vakil captures Readymoney’s obsession with movies, food and sex, and his journey from innocence to the painful reality of his life three years later, with tenderness. Probably more than any other book I read, I was left with a vivid picture of Mumbai during the 1970s.
Face to Face
By Ved Mehta
The memoir deals with the childhood of the author, blinded at the age of three by meningitis. The image of him jumping from rooftop to rooftop, keeping up with his mates while flying kites, is seared in my memory. I was in awe of the boy’s diligence, self-reliance and soaring spirit.
The Death of Vishnu
By Manil Suri
Suri has a whacky sense of humour even in the most tragic of situations. The book is vibrantly alive, and it deals with how different people living on the different floors of an apartment building react to the dying servant Vishnu.