5 Roving Novels by Indian Journalists

Can journalists churn out fabricated fiction? This is a question that often occupies our minds and rightly so. As readers, our fourth pillar of democracy doesn’t sync in with the polyphony of literary refinement, nor does it return to its (cardinal sin of) cliffhangers. However, these renowned journalists have written masterpieces on the political, pragmatic and the personal alike, spoiling us over the transitions, threadbare plot lines and flagrant realism. 

Train To Pakistan by Khushwant Singh 

Written in 1956 by the stalwart author, this book is a cult classic in Partition literature. The symbolic use of the train as a dividend during the Communal Riots of 1947 haunts the psyche of each on-boarder. Even the villagers from Mano Majra, who couldn’t imagine borders and border lines, smelt the ‘deathly odour’ of the great separation, succumbing to the silence of the chaos. The novel explicitly demonstrates how women were taken as tools for revenge, and the seeds of enmity were planted succinctly within a peaceful community. 

The Girl by Sonia Faleiro 

Can you die from too much love? Well, this is the very question that Sonia Faleiro asks in her seminal 2006 work. It is unapologetically lyrical, unabashedly sentimental and hopelessly romantic. The narrator opens the story, by hiding during the protagonist’s funeral. The aura of the story is dark, and not in a metaphorical essence, but a planned and methodical gloominess rushes in as one tries to penetrate the ostensible murder mystery. 

The White Tiger by Arvind Adiga 

Now crafted into a brilliant movie, this gem of a novel has those million bits of India as one could set apart and nurture. Winning the Man Booker Prize, this book set the hallmark for class conflict, poverty analysis and innovative storytelling in India. It explores the emergence of Munna Balram Halwai, a.k.a., the White Tiger, and his rise from being a mere villager to being a response-driven, reflexive taxi-driver. He became renowned after killing his employer Mr. Ashok, hence becoming an adviser to the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The book is confessional and you are in for a treat! 

Sahela Re by Mrinal Pande 

Can a book tune in notes of a lifetime? Such is the craftsmanship of Mrinal Pande. Her book, translated by Priyanka Sarkar, makes sure you hear the intonations of yearning instruments. Vidya, the central character and an ardent Classical Music admirer sets out to find the history of music teaching and performances in North India, all across the late 19th and 20th Centuries. The memorialization of verses, quotations and remarks add to her two main sources, Husna Bai and her daughter, Allahrakhi Bai. The melodious fluctuations in the oral narratives make the beautiful world of music come alive. 

The Patient in Bed Number 12 by Raj Kamal Jha

This novel is a gripping confession from a father to his child, a deeply resonating tale from the dreadful Coronavirus days. This book is not about building up to the climax but only about softly reverberating through the last moments, through the plethora of undulating plains and haunting past deeds of a father, expected no more. An unconventional style of storytelling immediately captivates the reader into a core loop, beyond all the lament, regret and castigation, lies the fear, the heart and the love of a father. 

Pick up any of these 5 Roving Novels by Indian Journalists from any Kunzum store or WhatsApp +91.8800200280 to order. Buy the book(s) and the coffee’s on us.

About the Author

Pritha Banerjee has completed her Masters in English Language & Literature from the University of Delhi. She was the recipient of the National Essay-writing Award from the SREI Foundation in 2014. Currently acting as a writer and translator for the Sankrityayan-Kosambi Study Circle, her latest publications include articles in ‘South Asian Women’s Narratives: Literatures of Their Own’ by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, FIPRESCI India, Muse India, Pashyantee: A Bilingual Journal, and Anustup Prakashani. Her upcoming translation of Rahul Sankrityayan’s ‘Dimaagi Gulaami’ is to be published by LeftWord Books. Find her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

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