The contents between the covers of an Indian paperback have changed. New age Indian authors are no longer looking towards the West for inspiration. So, what you get to read is straight from your own milieu.
The trend hit big time with Arundhati Roy’s God Of Small Things which presents Kerala in English fiction like never before, and now, it is a torrent — whether it is Siddharth Chowdhury’s Patna Roughcut, Tushar Raheja’s Anything For You, Ma’am, Ira Trivedi’s What would you do to save the world? or Altaf Tyrewala’s No God In Sight, it is India repackaged for the literary uninitiated.
And most of these authors are in their early ’30s or even ’20s. Says Siddharth Chowdhury “We don’t look at , the West for inspiration. The young brigade has carved its own niche and its style of writing is very specific. Hence, it retains the essence of the land and its people.”
Another reason for the Indian variety in modern fiction is that most of these authors hail from different professions. For instance, Kaveri Nambisan’s Hills of Angheri is a doctor’s reflection on life, both in rural and urban South India. Or Tuhin A Sinha’s That Thing Called Love captures Mumbai in its full flavour, including the deluge of July 2005.
Says author Samit Basu (The Simoqin Prophecies), “Unlike the ’80s — the age of Amitava Ghosh or Shashi Tharoor, who hailed from almost similar backgrounds, writers today come from different professions and are ready to experiment. Even the market has matured.”
So, has the golden age of contemporary Indian fiction finally arrived? Renuka Chatterjee of Roli Books says, “These young writers have managed to change India’s image and thankfully even the West has begun to accept it.” However, author Kiran Nagarkar begs to differ. “They have graduated to writing in a novel manner. But it would be too early to call it the golden age of fiction writing.” Well said! firstname.lastname@example.org