8 Must Read Books

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If you are a book-lover who loves to read books and authors that are making the mark internationally but have limited time to keep up with all that is coming in the field, never fear. Here is a list to guide you and help you catch up with some great fiction out there that you might not have heard of or come across due to various reasons. Presenting you with a list of 8 great novels and writers that you must explore further:

The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante is a contemporary author who has the world gushing over her writings. An Italian author who writes under this pen name, her most famous work is her Neapolitan series of novels. But she has written other novels and The Lost Daughter might be a good place to venture into her world. A powerful story of motherhood and loss, this is a layered narrative which tells the story of a woman on holiday who discovers a young mother-daughter pair there and gets involved in their life in a complicated way, learning more about herself and motherhood at the same time.

 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt’s novel The Goldfinch won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize. A bildungsroman, this magnum opus running to around 800 pages in the story of a boy and a painting that becomes one of the most important things in his life even as he descends into a world of drugs and crime. A novel in which a lot happens, this is an engaging read which is sure to keep you hooked to it to know what happens next.

 

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

While many of us might have read Adichie’s Americannah, her debut novel read Purple Hibiscus is every bit as poignant. Purple Hibiscus takes its readers to the stifling world of Kambili (along with her brother and mother) whose boundaries and rules have been decided by her father. This is the story of the growth of Kambili as she learns that there is a world that is beyond the rules circumscribed by her father.

 

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent:

Set in the picturesque yet daunting Icelandic landscape where survival can become a battle, this novel by the Australian author is based on a true incident where a woman named Agnes Magnusdottir was executed by the state on the charges of killing her employer along with another man. The novel poignantly presents the readers with Agnes’ version when she is sent to live with a family for her last days. Gradually, the family and the readers learn that not all is as has been portrayed by the authorities but in the novel, as in real life, there is no respite for Agnes.

 

Lullaby by Leila Slimani

Also published under the title The Perfect Nanny, this novel was presented as a thriller where an ideal nanny kills the two children she cares for. But this is not a thriller in the usual sense of the word. In fact, the novel is a character portrayal of the woman who commits these horrific and chilling crimes. Its answer can be found in the build up to the chilling climax of the murders which is also the beginning of the book.

 

Little Fires Everywhere

The second novel by Celeste Ng is as riveting and potent as her first one. Little Fires Everywhere is an aptly titled book. There are little fires everywhere and one big fire which opens and ends the book. The story is about family at the same time as it is about individuality, about living life at the same time as judging others, about race and migration, the idea of being different and how difficult being different can be in a society that demands and accepts only conformity.

 

The Nine-Chambered Heart

The Nine Chambered Heart by Janice Pariat is a study in character as much as a tale of love. Told in a series of vignettes, connected together by the connected thread of the character whose story they tell, is a beautiful and sublime study in character. The protagonist of the novel is never seen directly but always obliquely, showing the different colours of her character.

 

Three Things About Elsie

Three Things About Elsie is a sweet and sentimental book. There are three things you should know about Elsie, we are told in the synopsis. While two are told us straightaway, the third, as the 84 year old narrator says, takes some telling. A book which tells us that we are more than what we behave like at our worst moments and that one must learn to forgive everyone, including ourselves. It is a book you must read to feel better about the world around you.