The New York Times (NYT) has unveiled its selection of 100 notable books for 2023, featuring the works of seven Indian-origin authors including Salman Rushdie and Pico Iyer.
Each year, The New York Times Book Review team carefully curates a list encompassing novels, memoirs, biographies, poetry collections, and more. This compilation serves as a testament to the extraordinary and diverse literary landscape of the year, capturing the essence of the most exceptional contributions to the world of literature.
A look at the works by the seven Indian-origin writers:
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
In this historical fiction, spanning 77 years in Kerala in the 20th century, three generations of a family grapple with a unique affliction: a recurring theme of drowning deaths in each generation. The narrative delves into the family’s experiences amid political turmoil and other challenges.
Born in Addis Ababa to Kerala-native parents and educated at Madras Medical College, Verghese holds the position of Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine and serves as Vice Chair of Education at Stanford University Medical School. Renowned for his best-selling work Cutting for Stone, Verghese brings his literary prowess to illuminate this captivating tale of intergenerational struggles and political unrest.
Western Lane by Chetna Maroo
British-Indian author Chetna Maroo’s debut novel, Western Lane was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
The book is centred around an 11-year-old Jain girl in London coping with the loss of her mother, the narrative unfolds as she channels her focus into the world of squash.
Released earlier this year, the book has garnered praise for its inventive use of sports as a metaphor to delve into intricate human emotions.
A History of Burning by Janika Oza
In this historical fiction, the narrative unfolds the saga of an extended Indo-Ugandan family navigating displacement, resettlement, and displacement once more.
Janika Oza’s debut novel, A History of Burning earned a spot on the shortlist for the Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction at the 2023 Governor General’s Awards.
Victory City by Salman Rushdie
This mesmerizing historical fantasy unfolds the remarkable tale of Pampa Kampana, a visionary who forged an empire using enchanted seeds in 14th-century India. Within the pages, discover a world of unparalleled peace, where gender equality thrives, and all faiths are embraced.
Crafted by Salman Rushdie, a renowned Indian-born British-American novelist, this novel seamlessly weaves together magic realism and historical fiction.
Rushdie’s narrative explores the intricate tapestry of connections, disruptions, and migrations between Eastern and Western civilizations, offering readers a captivating journey through time and imagination.
Cobalt Red by Siddharth Kara
Dive into a compelling expose shedding light on the dire reality of cobalt mining in Congo, where approximately 75% of the world’s supply is extracted, often under sub-human conditions by peasants and children.
The book serves as a searing critique of this situation, unraveling the hidden complexities.
Siddharth Kara, an expert on human trafficking and modern slavery, is presently affiliated with the University of Nottingham. Kara’s expertise enriches the narrative, providing a nuanced understanding of the issues surrounding this global concern.
The Great Escape by Saket Soni
Unveiling the extraordinary story of hundreds of Indian men enticed to a foreign land with promises of work and green cards, only to find themselves in semi-captivity and forced labor in Mississippi, this book exposes the stark realities of their plight.
Authored by Saket Soni, a seasoned labor organizer, this work delves into the intricate layers of exploitation and vulnerability faced by these individuals. Soni, the founder and director of Resilience Force, a national non-profit, brings a unique perspective, drawing from his advocacy for the resilient workforce that plays a pivotal role in rebuilding communities after climate disasters.
The Half-Known Life by Pico Iyer
Siddharth Pico Iyer, a masterful travel writer born in England to a Tamil father and a Gujarati mother, presents an extensive literary journey that can be encapsulated as that of a wanderer. From traversing Iran to exploring North Korea, and from the Himalayas to Japan, Iyer’s works intricately weave together the tapestry of diverse cultures and religions. Noteworthy among his remembered works is Video Nights in Kathmandu.
In his novel, which takes the form of a memoir, Iyer explores the profound concept of paradise and its varied interpretations worldwide. Delving into the question of what paradise truly means, he eloquently states, “Paradise becomes something different in every neighbor’s head.” Renowned for his insightful reflections on crossing cultures, Iyer has authored several acclaimed books, including The Lady and the Monk and The Global Soul.
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