The British Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday announced a list of ‘100 Novels That Shaped Our World’. A panel of leading writers, curators and critics compiled the list for the network.
The panel comprised Stig Abell, editor of the Times Literary Supplement, Syima Aslam, director of the Bradford literature festival, authors Juno Dawson, Kit de Waal and Alexander McCall Smith, and journalist Mariella Frostrup.
The books were divided into 10 categories – identity, love, sex and romance, adventure, life, death and other worlds, politics, power and protest, class and society, coming of age, family and friendship, crime and conflict and rule breakers.
Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie and British-Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid were also on the list for their books Home Fire and The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
Here are the books by Indian writers that were on the list:
- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy: Arundhati Roy’s debut novel is a modern-day classic. Published in 1997, Roy won the Man Booker Prize for the novel. It is the story of an affluent Indian family and her portrayal of family, class and caste has often led to comparisons with William Faulkner, Charles Dickens, among others.
- The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie: The 1995 novel is about modern India. It was temporarily banned after the Shiv Sena protested that a character in the book resembled its leader Bal Thackeray. Rushdie, however, said that he was not sure why the book was chosen to be on BBC’s list.
- Swami and Friends by RK Narayan: This was the first novel of RK Narayan’s to gain international fame and was published in 1935. It is the story of a young boy named Swami and his escapades with his two close friends, Rajam and Mani.
- A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth: The novel tells the story of a university student in 1951 when the country is carving out its own identity as an independent nation and is about to go to the elections for its first time. The tale charts the fortunes of four large families and explores India and its rich and varied culture at a crucial point in its history.
- A House for Mr Biswas by VS Naipaul: One of the best-loved of his novels, A House for Mr Biswas was inspired by Naipaul’s father and published in 1961. Set in Trinidad, the story follows Mr Biswas, the son of a poor labourer, who is shunted from house to house as a guest and a burden, and who longs to have a house of his own.
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