Books Like The Taste of Ginger
Fiction is filled with stories of arrival and adjustment as characters either return to an unfamiliar home or try and make their home somewhere foreign to them. With its hustle and bustle as well as a diverse population, India is also a cherished setting for many of these stories. From people returning to the country after many years or experiencing the culture shock of living there for the first time, there are plenty of options for books that use India as a backdrop. In many cases, these novels also explore the concepts of friendship and family, whether it is leaving them behind or finding them anew and the tragedies that bring them together. For example, The Taste of Ginger by Mansi Shah is about a woman named Preeti who grows up in America but has to return to India for the first time as an adult after a family tragedy. For more stories that follow these themes, check out books like The Taste of Ginger.
by Tishani Doshi
Small Days and Nights is the third novel by Tishani Doshi. The protagonist, Grace, has left India for America, where she is unhappy with her marriage. Her life changes when she returns to India following her mother's death. To her surprise, Grace inherits an overgrown property on the beaches of Madras. However, her biggest shock is the discovery of Lucia, the sister she never knew she had. Unfortunately, Lucia has Down syndrome and has been hidden away in a residential facility. Grace ends up abandoning her Western life and moving into the beach house with Lucia to take care of her. Small Days and Nights shows a different side to India as well as family.
by Thrity Umrigar
The World We Found is a 2012 novel by Thrity Umrigar, The Space Between Us author. It is the tale of four women, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta, who were inseparable when they attended University in Bombay during the late seventies. The quartet was spirited and unconventional as they fought for a better world, but thirty years later, as the women near their fifties, they have all drifted apart. So when Armaiti, the only one of the four to leave India for America, learns that she has six months left to live at most thanks to a brain tumor, she desperately wants to see her old friends again. The World We Found shows how different the lives of these four Indian women are and how their ideals shaped their paths in life.
by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Lowland is a 2013 novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, who also wrote The Namesake. It is set in both India and America as it follows the lives of two brothers who were born just fifteen months apart. Growing up in Calcutta, Subhash and Udayan Mitra were inseparable and were often mistaken for each other due to their similar looks. However, they are also opposites, and their different ideals see Subhash moving to America for a life of scientific research while his brothers choose the life of a political activist. When Udayan is assassinated, Subhash returns to India and finds that his brothers' widow, Gauri, is pregnant. Subhash takes pity on her and marries Gauri before returning with her to America, where he vows to raise his brothers' child as his own.
by Balli Kaur Jaswal
The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a 2019 novel by Balli Kaur Jaswal. It is the story of three British-born sisters, Rajni, Jazmeen, and Shirina, who were never really close as children and grew even further apart as adults. However, the three reunite for a trip to India after their mother's last wish on her deathbed is for them to make a pilgrimage together to the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Although reluctant to embark on this journey, the three sisters are all dealing with issues in their own lives. During the trip, they don't just make unexpected discoveries about each other, but also about themselves and their mother.
by Leah Franqui
Mother Land by Leah Franqui is set in Mumbai, where Rachel Meyer, a foodie from New York, agrees to move with her Indian-born husband, Dhruv. Rachel thinks she knows what is waiting for her in the hot, noisy metropolis, but she is determined to make it home and learn her way around. What she didn't expect is that her mother-in-law, Swati, would suddenly leave her husband of forty years and travel all the way from Kolkata to move in with Rachel and Dhruv. The newlyweds cannot sway Swati, who remains determined to stay despite their best efforts. Then, when Dhruv is called away on business, the two strong-willed women from very different backgrounds are left alone together.
by Jane Coverdale
The Jasmine Wife is a historical fiction novel by Jane Coverdale that is set in India. The protagonist, Sara, is a young Englishwoman who marries a British officer named Charles stationed in India after meeting him during his leave in England. Sara was actually born in India, but the death of her parents at a young age saw her being sent to her uncle and aunt in England. By marrying Charles, she believes that she will be able to recapture the happy memories of the India she remembers growing up. However, upon arrival, she discovers that she has merely traded a stiffing life in England for an equally controlled one in India. Charles is also more interested in using her to further his career than anything else. Although Sara is determined not to be a "Jasmine Wife" who wilts under the hot Indian sun, she finds herself straying from the path that is expected of her.