Best Novels to Read in India For All Book Worms

best novels to read in india

Indian writers have found unprecedented success with their literary works. The study of wisdom is greatly affected by the novels written by Indian authors. Many excellent Indian books bring this huge and varied country’s vivid colors, rich history, and fascinating readers to life. Are you interested in learning more about India via its novels? We’ve compiled a list of the best novels to Read in India so you can start reading them right now. In India, one need not worry about being short of fantastic books. These books are a great way to learn about Indian cultures and periods.

List of best novels to read in India

1. The God Of Small Things

It is a very beautifully written novel by Arundhati Roy. In 1997, the novel received the Booker Prize in the fictional category. The story revolves around the memories of twins Rahel and Esthappen when they were growing up. The setting for this novel is Aymanam. It is a rural area in Kottayam, Kerala. Life in the small world of the Aymanam household revolves around the rigid distinctions created by society, like gender inequality, the class & caste system, and politics. It is a touching tale about how people’s actions and outlooks may change due to seemingly small factors. 

The God Of Small Things

  • Author name: Arundhati Roy 
  • Pages: 356
  • Published: 1997
  • Genres: Fiction

2. A Fine Balance

The story in the novel focuses on how four individuals live their lives in their respective cultural and social surroundings. Maneck Kohlah, a youngster, hails from a rural community and is now enrolled in college. Dina Dalal, a widowed woman, fights hard to retain her freedom while still making a livelihood. Ishvar and Omprakash Darji are both skilled tailors. They get forced to leave their hometown in search of employment. They all end up getting along well and forming a relationship. The author has beautifully depicted the events in their lives using scenarios in India. In 1995, the novel got honored with the Giller Prize.

A Fine Balance

YouTube: A Fine Balance

  • Author name: Rohinton Mistry 
  • Pages: 624
  • Published: 1995
  • Genres: Historical Fiction

3. Shadow Lines

Amitav Ghosh is the author of The Shadow Lines, published in 1988. It is a fictional account of past events which is one of the best novels to read in India. The narrative focuses on how national and physical borders separate people from one another. This literary work also includes a depiction of the terrible events of 1964. The Indian author, Amitav Ghosh, creates excellent visual narration throughout the novel. It is a must-read for all those individuals who want to gain a more in-depth knowledge of the main events in Indian society. The book tells how the lives of two households (English and Indian) changed drastically after India got its independence in 1947. 

Shadow Lines
Image Credit:

YouTube: Shadow Lines

  • Author name: Amitav Ghosh
  • Pages: 256
  • Published: 1988 
  • Genres: Political Fiction

4. Midnight`s Children

Salman Rushdie has written several novels. Midnight`s Children is one of his epic works. It was written in 1981. It was the most widely read of the author’s works and the winner of the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1981. Crucial moments in the history of India get examined in this book. a must-read for everyone interested in learning more about a turbulent time in India’s past. Saleem is the story’s main character. On August 15, 1947, at midnight, Saleem entered the world. The day marks the beginning of India’s independence. After then, everything about Saleem’s future seemed intertwined with India’s.

Midnight`s Children
Image Credit: Brave + Kind Bookshop

YouTube: Midnight`s Children

  • Author name: Salman Rushdie
  • Pages: 446
  • Published: 1981
  • Genres: Magical Realism, Historical Fiction

5. Fasting and Feasting

Anita Desai wrote the book. The novel Fasting and Feasting explores concepts of anxiety, scarcity, plenty, and social confinement. The gender roles of men and women in the Indian and American civilizations are compared and contrasted. The title of the book explains the novel’s theme of contrast. The theme of the novel gets written in two sections. The first segment takes place in an extremely conservative Indian home. The second part of the story takes place in a forbidding and secluded residence in the rural areas of Massachusetts. This family story has many layers. The plot contrasts how both cultures fulfill people’s appetites, wants, and hunger pangs.

best novels to read in india

YouTube: Fasting and Feasting

  • Author name: Anita Desai
  • Pages: 240
  • Published: 1999
  • Genres: Literary Fiction

6. The Namesake

The Namesake is a book by Jhumpa Lahiri that focuses on the intertwined stories of various individuals. It is counted as one of the best novels to read in India. The novel follows a Bengali couple who emigrated from India. The author skillfully carves out the specifics of their existence in the United States. In this story, Gogol takes center stage. The themes of faithfulness and adultery within the context of marital commitment are also explored in this tale. Living far from one’s home country forces one to choose between being homesick and making the most of one’s new surroundings.

The Namesake

YouTube: The Namesake

  • Author name: Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Pages: 291
  • Published: 2003
  • Genres: Literary Fiction, Contemporary

7. A Suitable Boy

Epic is the best word to describe A Suitable Boy. One of the books that holds the record for the most pages in a single printed volume. The book has proven to be immensely successful since its publication. The storyline of A Suitable Boy is now used by the entertainment industry to make miniseries with the same name. The book by Vikram Seth is a romantic tale. As the story progresses, we get immersed in the expansive families comprising four separate sets of relatives. It weaves a captivating story about them and the people they love.

A Suitable Boy
Image Credit: Karissa Reads Books


YouTube: A Suitable Boy

  • Author name: Vikram Seth
  • Pages: 1474
  • Published: 1999
  • Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance

8. Truly, Madly, Deeply

The story follows the lives of two youngsters who fall in love on opposite sides of the globe. First romances and obsessive passions are the subjects of the novel Truly, Madly, Deeply. Rahul & Seema, two teenagers in love, are the protagonists of Faraaz Kazi’s first book. The narrative’s sad love story is moving. The story’s plot, and especially its resolution, is a welcome change of pace. The narrative it presents is, in a way, quite approachable. The characters become interesting people at the end. The style of writing is simple to understand and to the point.

Truly, Madly, Deeply

  • Author name: Faraaz Kazi
  • Pages: 304
  • Published: 2010
  • Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction

9. Train To Pakistan

The story takes place in Mano Majra, a small town in a remote area. There is peace between people who believe in different religions. The village stands as a symbol of peace and innocence until something happens. The situation threatens the peace and makes the people who live there doubt, upset, and hate each other. The story gets told from the points of view of each of the three main characters. It’s fun to read the book. The book goes into great detail about scenes and people going about their daily lives. The situation in the town shows how easy it is to control people with religious ideas.

Train To Pakistan

YouTube: Train To Pakistan

  • Author name: Khushwant Singh
  • Pages: 181
  • Published: 1956
  • Genres: Historical Fiction

10. Life of Pi

The book Life of Pi has become an epic work of imagination and adventure. The work was eventually made public in 2001. In 2002, the Booker Prize for Fiction got awarded to the fantastic book Life of Pi. It’s a fantastic tale about a little Indian boy. He is now drifting aimlessly toward the ocean in a huge lifeboat after his ship has gone down. The language used in writing is both refined and robust. The plot changes abruptly and irrevocably. It demonstrates extraordinary skill on the part of the author. An easy read with possibly profound effects on its audience.

best novels to read in india

YouTube: Life of Pi

  • Author name: Yann Martel
  • Pages: 406
  • Published: 2001
  • Genres: Adventure Fiction, Fantasy

11. Unaccustomed Earth

The novel Unaccustomed Earth is a masterpiece of literary craftsmanship by Jhumpa Lahiri. The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. The collection of short stories focuses heavily on family relationships. Family is portrayed both positively and negatively throughout the anthology. Ruma’s mother passed away, and Ruma is mourning alongside her father. Her untimely passing has created a void in the household. Ruma’s father is still hurting from the demise and uses travel as an outlet. Jhumpa Lahiri is a master at getting into her character’s heads. One may find a piece of themselves in every one of them.

Unaccustomed Earth

YouTube: Unaccustomed Earth

  • Author name: Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Pages: 331
  • Published: 2008
  • Genres: Short Stories

12. Delayed Monsoon

Delayed Monsoon has the potential to refresh your thoughts and emotions. The story will make you think and make you feel good. Delayed Monsoon is the first book by Chitralekha. Delayed Monsoon offers a glimpse into the life of a housewife who seeks refuge in an online community but is eventually dragged back to reality. The book covers many different periods. In the end, there’s a twist you will not see coming. It’s a short book, but it talks about a lot of different things.

Delayed Monsoon

  • Author name: Chitralekha Paul
  • Pages: 193
  • Published: 2011
  • Genres: Fiction

13. The Glass Palace

The book is a work of fiction set in the past. Amitav Ghosh is the author of The Glass Palace. Among Indian authors, he ranks high in popularity. Three eras of one family are covered in the book, along with Burma’s turbulent past. Colonialism is another major concept explored in The Glass Palace. The protagonists live in a society where oppressive colonial rule prevents them from moving forward in any meaningful way. The story is mostly about compassion and the bonds between people. The plot gradually reveals itself as time passes, revealing memories.

The Glass Palace

YouTube: The Glass Palace

  • Author name: Amitav Ghosh
  • Pages: 486
  • Published: 2000
  • Genres: Historical Fiction

14. The Inheritance of Loss

The narrative is told in a dreamlike style that is almost unreal. Few books can make a reader fall in love with words the way this one does. The Inheritance of Loss is a page-turning novel because of all the unexpected twists and turns it takes. Several prizes, including the Prestigious Booker Prize, were bestowed upon it. examines the lives of those stuck in the high and lower tiers of India’s caste system. The storyline focuses mostly on the concept of loss.

The Inheritance of Loss

YouTube: The Inheritance of Loss

  • Author name: Kiran Desai
  • Pages: 357
  • Published: 2005
  • Genres: Historical Fiction

15. Swami and Friends

K. Narayan has skillfully brought attention to the significance of the social context in which a kid develops. The hilarious perspective on the contradictory character of mankind is something that readers like. Swaminathan, also known as “Swami,” is the protagonist of this novel. The warmth and affection that Swami shows for his loved ones, friends, and grandmother is well captured by the author in this book. The writing is excellent, and the story has just the right amount of humor, entertainment, and action.

best novels to read in india

YouTube: Swami and Friends

  • Author name: R. K. Narayan
  • Pages: 459
  • Published: 1935
  • Genres: Fiction 

16. The Guide

It is a story of a guy called Raju, who works as a knowledgeable guide and does everything in his power, whether truthfully or deceptively, to ensure that his clients are satisfied. But love brings out the worst in him, and he starts acting recklessly as a result.  The brilliance of the book lies in its capacity to demonstrate the conventional narrative structure used in Indian culture. The straightforward plot is complicated by the use of non-chronological order in the presentation of the events, which goes forward and backward in time. It is a simple but timeless novel.

The Guide by R. K. Narayan

YouTube: The Guide

  • Author name: R. K. Narayan
  • Pages: 220
  • Published: 1958
  • Genres: Fiction

17. Sacred Games

The book Sacred Games is considered literary and best novels to read in India. Sartaj Singh & Ganesh Gaitonde are the two major characters in the novel. The characters are so vividly portrayed that they will stay with you long after you finish the book. There is so much action in the book that you won’t be able to put it down.  The plot is brilliant. You’ll learn about friendship and what it means to be betrayed.  It’s a massive crime novel set in the massive metropolis of Bombay. A massive book about criminals and the police in Bombay the city.

Sacred Games

YouTube: Sacred Games

  • Author name: Vikram Chandra
  • Pages: 928
  • Published: 2006
  • Genres: Crime, Thriller

18. Family Matters

It tells the tale of the hardships endured by a Mumbai-based Parsi family. The author uses one family to investigate wider problems within the Parsi community. The story follows the Vakeel family, headed by patriarch Nariman. Yasmin, his wife, passed away many years ago. At 79, he’s starting to show symptoms of the neurological disorder Parkinson’s. Family Matters made it into the Booker Prize consideration. The novel chronicles the groundbreaking journey of loved ones, affection, and togetherness.

Family Matters

  • Author name: Rohinton Mistry
  • Pages: 500
  • Published: 2001
  • Genres: Domestic Fiction, Contemporary

19. Five Point Someone

Five Point Someone is one of the best novels to read in India. Chetan Bhagat has written a really good book. Judging someone not by their grades but by their character is another theme of the novel. Ryan Oberoi is our protagonist. He is a very gifted student who also has a lot of independence. He thinks that learning should focus on encouraging critical thought and having fun, rather than rote memorization of facts and figures. The book focuses on the seismic shift that has occurred in the context as a whole. The storyline is funny, but it got across a serious point subtly and effectively.

Five Point Someone

YouTube: Five Point Someone

  • Author name: Chetan Bhagat
  • Pages: 230
  • Published: 2004
  • Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

20. The Hungry Tide

The narrative focuses on the natives of the Sundarbans. These are the islands formed by the Ganges’ tidal waters. Learn how humanity has weathered the assault of natural catastrophe after tragedy. The author also discusses the region’s volatile political climate after independence. The reader will be transported to the setting as they read this novel. The book delves into the lifestyles of local boatmen. Those interested in maritime or riverine activities will like this book. The book is full of fascinating information, both historical and contemporary, about the Sundarbans.

best novels to read in india

YouTube: The Hungry Tide

  • Author name: Amitav Ghosh
  • Pages: 333
  • Published: 2004
  • Genres: Historical Fiction


Reading regularly is a powerful tool for personal growth and development. If you want to enrich your mind, body, and outlook, explore the history and culture of the Indian subcontinent. The best novels to read in India that were discussed above are some of the finest examples of Indian literature. You could learn more about yourself, the world, and potential career paths by reading these works of literature.


Q1. What are the best Indian books to read?

If you are looking for the best Indian books to read, here is the list for you. 

  1. The God Of Small Things
  2. A Fine Balance
  3. Shadow Lines
  4. Midnight`s Children
  5. Fasting, Feasting
  6. The Namesake
  7. A Suitable Boy
  8. Truly, Madly, Deeply
  9. Train To Pakistan
  10. Life of Pi

Q2. What kind of books do Indians like to read?

Some studies have shown that the most popular genres among Indian readers are those that focus on adventure and self-motivation. 

Q3. What is the most famous book read?

Harry Potter series is the most well-known book ever written, and it has been able to hold the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers throughout its long and illustrious publishing history because of its exquisite world-building, fascinating characters, and overarching themes.

Q4. What is the most famous Indian literature?

The Train to Pakistan is the most famous Indian literature. This literary work provides a graphic depiction of the violence associated with India’s division.

Q5. Which is the best-selling book by an Indian author?

The God Of Small Things is the first book written by Arundhati Roy. There is no doubt that this work belongs to the group of contemporary literature. The novel has garnered acclaim from readers everywhere.


Debalina Sengupta is a passionate content writer with a love for crafting engaging and informative narratives. With an SEO and content management background, she has developed her skills to deliver written content across various domains. She likes to explore all niches, Whether for creating captivating blog posts, compelling articles, or persuasive copy. With creative hobbies like painting, sketching, and writing personal blogs, she found her way into content writing. Debalina is currently working in a renowned Digital marketing agency based in Delhi.

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