10 Best Indian Books You Must Read

With its diversity of people, cultures, and places, India has a very prolific literary history. If you are an Indian and looking to start your reading journey or any foreign national who wants to know more about the country, the best Indian books can surely bring the true essence of the country to you.

Here we have curated a list of the 10 best Indian books that have successfully portrayed the story of the people on the subcontinent.

Let’s have a look!

10 Best Indian Books You Must Read

1. The Guide

The Guide


  • Author: R.K.Narayan
  • Published in: 2007
  • Publisher: Indian Thought Publications

R.K. Narayan is one of the most widely read and acclaimed authors in Indian literature and novels. The Journey sets in Malgudi, in South India, an imaginary town famous in R.K. Narayan’s writing. It depicts the story of Railway Raju, a tour guide who is naturally corrupt.

But, as the strange series of events reveals, he leads to becoming a spiritual guru and also turns out to be a holy figure in the country.

You can buy this book from here.

2. Midnight’s Children

Midnight's Children (Everyman's Library CLASSICS)


  • Author: Salman Rushdie
  • Published in: 1995
  • Publisher: Everyman

The Booker Prize judges unanimously praised Salman Rushdie’s great novel three times. The first time it got the Man Booker was in 1981, then it was named the Booker of Bookers in 1993 on the 25th anniversary of the Man Booker award. Then, again in 2008, the book was awarded as the all-time best Booker Prize winner.

It tells the story of Saleem Sinai, along with 1001 other children born with a superpower at the exact time of India’s freedom. They have been referred to as the “midnight’s children” since they were born at the time of India’s freedom. They all had extraordinary abilities to connect with each other telepathically. Moreover, in the novel’s preface, Rushdie states that the work is read “as a fiction” in the West, while it is “very realistic, virtually a history book” in India.

You can buy this book from here.

3. A Suitable Boy

A Suitable Boy A Novel (Perennial Classics)


  • Author: Vikram Seth
  • Published in: 2005
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics

This massive tome, released in 1993, is a much-loved classic. In fact, it is one of the longest single-volume novels published in the English language. It chronicles the experiences of four families in newly independent, post-partition India, with an emphasis on Rupa Mehra’s efforts to arrange the marriage of her vivacious student daughter Lata to “a respectable lad.”

The first cinematic adaptation of this epic saga is now being shot in India and will air on BBC1 in late 2020. “It’s a beautiful, almost Austenesque narrative with a deliciously accessible protagonist set against the volatile backdrop of India in the years after partition,” TV screenwriter Andrew Davies adds.

You can buy this book from here.

4. Train to Pakistan

Train to Pakistan


  • Author: Khushwant Singh
  • Published in: 2016
  • Publisher: Penguin

Khushwant Singh’s historical Indian novel, published in 1956, was extensively praised for providing a human perspective on the partition of British India into India and Pakistan. While most stories of the partition were essentially political in nature, Singh described the event in terms of personal loss and misery.

Train to Pakistan is a must-read for anybody interested in Indian literature or history.

You can buy this book from here.

5. The Lives of Others

The Lives of Others


  • Author: Neel Mukherjee
  • Published in: 2014
  • Publisher: Random House

Neel Mukherjee’s second novel, set in 1960s Kolkata, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Costa Novel Award in 2014. It begins with the horrifying narrative of a desperate father who, unable to feed his starving wife and children, murders them before dying himself.

This terrifying picture contrasts with the narrative of the rich Ghosh family, one member of whom has been involved in radical political action.

Overall, its a moving generational tale about the divide between the haves and have-nots.

You can buy this book from here.

6. The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things


  • Author: Arundhati Roy
  • Published in: 1997
  • Publisher: Random House

When it was released in 1997, this ambitious debut novel swept the literary world by storm. Roy had previously worked as a scriptwriter, actress, and aerobics instructor, yet her novel sold all over the world and won the Booker Prize within months.

It is set in the southern state of Kerala and tells the story of twins Estha and Rahel, whose life is dramatically changed by the unexpected death drowning of their visiting English relative.

It’s a riveting narrative of intertwined family life, birth, and death, love and sorrow that’s lyrical, enchanting, and wonderfully written.

You can buy this book from here.

7. The Year of the Runaways

The Year of the Runaways


  • Author: Sunjeev Sahota
  • Published in: 2015
  • Publisher: Picador India

Sunjeev Sahota’s second novel follows three migrant laborers; Tochi, Avtar, and Randeep, as they depart India in search of work in England. The first part of the book is about their lives in India, and it relates many reasons for going to the other side of the world. Randeep marries to obtain a visa, Avtar acts as a student, and Tochi arrives in the UK on the back of a lorry with a forged passport.

In addition, the novel was nominated for the 2015 Booker Prize.

You can buy this book from here.

8. The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss


  • Author: Kiran Desai
  • Published in: 2006
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton

It’s a powerful and very accessible story of a bitter old judge who lives in a dilapidated mansion high in the Himalayas, his orphaned granddaughter Sai. On the other hand, it recounts the journeys of Biju, an illegal immigrant in the United States attempting to establish a new life, and in love with Sai.

With its concise storytelling, the book has received the Booker prize in 2006.

While concisely illuminating the repercussions of colonialism the characters appear to be alive, and the images created by the writing through writing appear to linger in your mind for a long time.

You can buy this book from here.

9. A Fine Balance

A Fine Balance The epic modern classic


  • Author: Rohinton Mistry
  • Published in: 2006
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber

Set in 1975, against the context of the central government imposing a State of Emergency in India, Rohinton Mistry’s literary classic follows the narrative of four strangers from various sectors of life.

This book, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1996, is a riveting chronicle of the political, social, and economic factors that moved India through the late twentieth century and into its current shape.

You can buy this book from here.

10. Witness the Night

Witness the Night


  • Author: Kishwar Desai
  • Published in: 2010
  • Publisher: Beautiful Books Ltd.

When a traumatized little girl is discovered half-dead in a house where 13 people have been murdered, the local police believe she is the murderer. However, a fiery gin-swilling social worker who comes in to analyze the case believes the child has been victimized and sets out to establish her innocence.

Kishwar Desai created her amazing debut novel in just four weeks, inspired by her outrage at the hidden disgrace of murdering infant girls in regions of India.

In 2010, it won the Costa First Novel Award.

You can buy this book from here.


That’s all. Hope you find our list of the 10 best Indian books intriguing. However, apart from these, there are more critically acclaimed novels and short stories available by Indian authors that you may love to read. So, which is your favorite Indian book?

Tell us in the comment below.

Happy Reading!

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