I must confess, the first Indian author I ever read was Chetan Bhagat. With a start this awesome, you can imagine how the rest of the journey would be. To be honest, I liked his first book 'Five Point Someone'. Maybe it was to do with the fact that I was doing my engineering at that point of time. The book was decent enough and I sincerely feel that '3 Idiots' was totally inspired by this book no matter what the production house chose to say. After reading mysteries and thrillers, a slice of life book felt good at that point of time. 'One Night At A Call Center' was such a disaster that I did not know if I should laugh or cry for choosing to read this book. 'Three Mistakes Of My Life' turned out to be a huge mistake in my life, but I did enjoy 'Kai Po Che'. The movie was a million times better than the book here. I read '2 States' because I was dating a guy from the North back then and I did like the book. It did not work out for me in real life, but atleast the book had a happy ending. The movie was pretty decent too, irrespective of having Arjun Kapoor in it.
After this, I picked up its parody '2 Fates' by Judy Balan. Not that Chetan Bhagat had set very high expectations when it comes to Indian authors, but I was just intrigued. I hated this book from the word go. There was so much of sex in this book and for no reason. I gave up Indian authors after that for the 100th time. There is something very not clean about Indian author books. Either the concept is very juvenile or the execution is. I had sworn off Indian authors much earlier but as and when some book came into the highlight, curiosity got the better out of me. But after this, I had sworn off Indian authors for good. Then I made a huge mistake by signing on for a book review program for a famous blogging community. Mostly, they only give out Indian author books and the first book that I got for review was 'Sita's Curse'.
Until then, this book was being spoken about so much as the first book to bring out the concept of female sexuality and desires and every one was giving it 4 or 5 stars. Since I had to review the book in a week, I finished it in two sittings. I am not lying when I say this but reading this book actually made me want to puke. A lot. There is no denying that Indian authors use sex to sell their books. But this one was something else altogether. The protagonist in this book has sex with almost every male in the book with the excuse of wanting to explore her sexuality. Clearly, worst book ever! The other books that I received for review were no less either. One was worse than the other and the number of terrible books in my list grew higher and higher. Most of them were Indian books and the reasons were pretty obvious.
During this time, Rasleen Syal got in touch with me on Goodreads and later on Facebook to ask me if I would review her debut novel 'Happily Murdered'. Since it was a murder mystery, I agreed. I was pleasantly surprised by the book. The writing was sophisticated and the story was brilliant. With a limited number of characters, the mystery intertwined itself beautifully and came to a near perfect conclusion. I'm eagerly waiting for her next book. Then I read 'The Palace Of Illusions' and was blown away. What a beautiful way to tell a very popular story. I haven't read any other book from Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni yet, but 'The Mistress Of Spices' is on my list. Sharath Komarraju is another Indian author whose books I enjoy reading. They are very well researched and the story always grips the reader. I discovered Anita Nair very late and fell in love with her writing when I read 'Mistress'. Such a beautiful tale it was! The writing was brilliant and the references to kathakali was interesting. But then I read 'Lessons In Forgetting' and was back to square one.
It is not that Indian authors are not good. I have loved each and every book of Jhumpa Lahiri. There is an earthiness in her writing and that makes you want to read more of her. But then again, she calls herself an American author. When I read Arundhati Roy's 'The God Of Small Things', I couldn't get past the first two pages. The writing was a drag and this made reading it very tedious. I don't know where Indian authors go wrong. Most of them have a minuscule plot and drag it to form a book. The language used is below par and the book is more often than not peppered with too much sex. Ravi Subramanian was a decent author I thought, until he wrote 'The Bestseller She Wrote'. That book made me want to kill myself for the amount of time I voluntarily wasted. I haven't read a lot of other famous Indian authors like Amish Tripathi, Durjoy Datta, Devdutt Pattanaik etc. I have read the blurb of their books, but nothing felt interesting enough. I do have a couple of women writers on my Facebook list who churn out books like every alternate month. I tried reading one of their books once and I lost my mind after a couple of pages. They apparently are best selling authors in the country. Well, good for them.
Of late every Indian author call themselves "best selling" and every person who thinks that they can write is writing a book. There are so many books out there that do not even qualify to be a high school read, let alone a best seller. But you cannot deny the fact that they are out there. While not all Indian authors are bad, the good ones are just a handful. It takes all the effort that I have to make myself read a book by an Indian author. While the worst books that I have read by Indian authors is a six page document, the best one will always remain 'Malgudi Days' by R. K. Narayan.
Which is your favorite book by an Indian author? What do you look for in a book written by an Indian author?