2019 is going to be amazing for readers. While international authors like Margaret Atwood, Marlon James, Toni Morrison, Leila Slimani and Elizabeth Gilbert are releasing much-anticipated books, Indian authors are not far behind. You have books by acclaimed authors like Nayantara Sahgal, Githa Hariharan, Chandrahas Choudhury, Tishani Doshi and Easterine Kire releasing in the first half of this year. Translations of Krishna Sobti and KR Meera’s works are going to find a place on our shelves and so is Yashica Dutt’s much-awaited memoir on ‘coming out’ as a Dalit. If that isn’t enough, in June, we have books by Amitav Ghosh, Arundhati Roy and Suketu Mehta to look forward to. Here’s a list of 14 books by Indian authors we can’t wait to get our hands on.
The Forest Of Enchantments
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Ramayana is hailed as one of the world’s greatest epics but is also a tragic love story in many ways. The Forest Of Enchantments is a retelling of this epic with Sita at its forefront and also includes stories of other women like Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, and Mandodari who are often misunderstood and marginalised. Banerjee has brilliantly portrayed the will of these women and transformed their fight to regain their worth in the world of men into a gripping story. She turns our attention to women-centric questions – How should women be treated by their loved ones? What are their rights in a relationship? When does a woman need to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’ This book will make you look at the Ramayana from an entirely different perspective- that of Sita’s.
Releasing on January 07, 2019. Buy it here.
The Far Field
Madhuri Vijay’s The Far Field journeys from the hustle and bustle of Bangalore to the quiet, gorgeous and deadly Kashmir. The protagonist, Shalini, sets out for Kashmir after the death of her mother. Certain that it is linked to Bashir Ahmed, a Kashmiri salesman who frequented her childhood home and disappeared 10 years ago. Vijay then takes us for a spin when Shalini gets tangled in the local history, violence and hatred that brews in the village she finds herself in and is forced to make choices that could have dangerous consequences. The Far Field examines Indian politics and offers a perspective on loss, anguish and compassion.
Releasing on January 15, 2019. Buy it here.
A Respectable Woman
Eastern Kire’s latest novel uses storytelling traditions that are typical of Nagaland to recreate the aftermath of WWII. The decisive battle of Kohima is over and the people of and around Kohima are left to pick up the pieces. Political unrest and social changes have created new social problems, like alcohol abuse and domestic violence. 45 years later, Khanuo recreates the events for her young daughter as she tells her all about the past while highlighting the present, which is fraught with a different set of challenges. Through Khanuo’s journey, we learn of Nagaland’s history and of a society in transition.
Expected in January 2019. Buy it here.
I Have Become The Tide
Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1993 for her debut novel, The Thousand Faces Of Night, Githa Hariharan’s latest book raises pertinent questions about the cruelties of caste and the destructive forces that clamp down on dissent. A political book, it celebrates the “joy of resistance, the redemptive beauty of words, and the courage to be found in friendship and love” and tells the story of what happens to those who are condemned as untouchable but dare to dream of equality.
Releasing on February 05, 2019. Buy it here.
A Gujarat Here, A Gujarat There
Krishna Sobti, Daisy Rockwell(Tr.)
Winner of the 2017 Jnanpith Award for her contribution to Indian literature, Krishna Sobti is a Hindi fiction writer and essayist best known for her book Zindaginama. A Gujarat Here, A Gujarat There opens in 1947 Delhi- a city overflowing with Partition refugees. Young Krishna applies to a position at a preschool in the erstwhile princely state of Sirohi in a bid to escape the pain and confusion that surrounds her. However, when she is given the opportunity to become governess to the child maharaja, Tej Singh Bahadur, she can’t help but wonder how long this idyll will last. Part memoir, part feminist anthem, this book is not only a tale of Partition but also that of a young woman determined to create a new identity for herself all on her own terms.
Releasing on February 15, 2019. Buy it here.
The Fate Of Butterflies
Writer, journalist and activist, Nayantara Sahgal, whose last novel When The Moon Shines By Day was long-listed for the inaugural JCB Prize for Literature in 2018, is back with a new novel. The Fate Of Butterflies highlights what happens when a country’s government tries to erase sections of its history and marginalise a community. The book is a telling comment on the contemporary moment in India, and who better to do it than Sahgal, a member of an eminent political family.
Expected in February 2019.
Coming Out As Dalit: A Memoir
Yashica Dutt’s much-awaited memoir recounts the exhausting burden of living with the secret of being a Dalit while dealing with the guilt of denying her identity. This personal memoir also chronicles the history of the Dalit community and the Dalit movement as she tries to answer important questions about caste and privilege. Woven from personal narratives as well as those of other Dalits, this book not only forces us to come to terms with the injustice of caste but also serves as a call to action for change.
Releasing on February 20, 2019. Buy it here.
A People’s History Of Heaven
Mathangi Subramanian’s debut novel is set in Heaven, a slum in Bangalore, and follows five teenage girls as they come of age and work with their mothers to prevent city officials from destroying their homes in order to build a shopping complex. As the novel plays with time, we learn the backstories of these girls and their mothers. This is a book about love and friendship, and about fighting to preserve a place, even if no one knows it exists.
Releasing on March 19, 2019. Buy it here.
Life Lessons From The China Dragon: Stories
Chandrahas Choudhury is the author of Arzee The Dwarf and Clouds, which was longlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature in 2018. His latest work of fiction is set in a Chinese restaurant in Mumbai. Not only does it offer an insight into the restaurant trade, but also gives us a glimpse of the moral and material world of Mumbai, 25 years after liberalisation. It promises to leave us hungry for life and food.
Expected in March 2019.
Small Days And Nights
Tishani Doshi’s second novel is a story of a family set against the backdrop of modern India. After escaping her failing marriage, Grace returns to Pondicherry to cremate her mother only to receive an unexpected inheritance- a property in Madras and a sister, Lucia that she didn’t know she had. As she sets up a new life in Madras with Lucia and a cast of fascinating characters, she discovers the joys and sorrows of living with a sister with Down’s Syndrome. This surprising and heart-breaking novel is about a woman in the midst of transformation and the sacrifices she makes to forge a life with meaning.
Releasing on April 18, 2019. Buy it here.
This Land Is Our Land
From the author of Maximum City, comes a timely book which argues that the U.S. and the West would benefit from accepting immigrants. Using his own experience as an Indian immigrant growing up in New York as well as the time he spent reporting around the world, Mehta explains that the West is being destroyed by the fear of immigrants and not the actual immigrants themselves. He demonstrates that immigrants bring great benefits to society and highlights their ordinary heroism. This Land Is Our Land is a necessary intervention considering even as our borders become more porous and immigration becomes an increasingly controversial topic.
Releasing on June 04, 2019. Buy it here.
My Seditious Heart: Collected Nonfiction
This 1000-page tome collects Arundhati Roy’s complete non-fiction work during the two-decade period between The God Of Small Things and The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness. During this 20-year period, Roy devoted herself to writing political essays in a bid to open up space for justice, rights and freedom in an environment that has been growing increasingly hostile. The essays speak in defence of the collective, the individual and the land, especially when faced with the logic of the financial, social, religious, military and governmental elites. In addition to being political, these essays also take us through Roy’s journey as a writer and a citizen of both India and the world.
Releasing on June 04, 2019. Buy it here.
Amitav Ghosh needs no introduction and his latest novel is one of the most anticipated books of 2019. Set in several locations around the world, it is a work of historical fiction with cli-fi themes. Deen deals in rare books and is used to spending his time indoors but is forced to set out on an extraordinary journey which takes him from India to Los Angeles and Venice. Along the way he meets some interesting characters like Tipu who shows him the realities of growing up in today’s world. His remarkable journey will not only upend his view of himself but also that of the world around him. At its core, Gun Island is a “story of hope, of a man whose faith in the world and the future is restored by two remarkable women.”
Releasing on June 15, 2019. Buy it here.
KR Meera, J Devika(Tr.)
KR Meera is a Malayalam author whose novel, Aarachaar, is widely regarded as one of the best literary works in Malayalam and was shortlisted for the 2016 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Three novellas- Slowly Forgetting, The Deepest Blue, and The Angel’s Beauty Spots- are collected in this translation. All three stories feature female protagonists and explore a range of relationships- from marriage to infidelity and from unrequited love to failed love.
Expected in June 2019.
Disclaimer: The information featured here is accurate as of January 03, 2019.
Which of these books, scheduled to release in 2019, are you most excited about? Are there any other books by Indian authors you’re looking forward to reading in 2019? Share with us in the comments below.