India still reads books

Three strong novels from India

“Life in one breath” by Neel Mukherjee, “Ghachar Ghochar” by Vivek Shanbhag and “Half a woman” by Perumal Murugan - each one more interesting than the other ...

There are many social and political issues that are currently worth knowing and discussing with regard to India - the situation of women currently ranks above all others. The best example: The 600 kilometer long human chain that three to five million people gathered in the state of Kerala at the beginning of January to point out the problem and at the same time to signal solidarity.

How women are doing is also a central theme (among others) in three Indian novels that have recently been translated into German:

Neel Mukherjee, who was born in Calcutta in 1970 and now lives in London, reflects the society between rich and poor, yesterday and today, city and country in five stories that are very skilfully and artistically woven into a whole - "Life in one breath", a novel with outstanding content and aesthetics at the highest literary level. (Kunstmann Verlag, translated from English by Giovanni and Ditte Bandini, Euro 24).

Vivek Shanbhag, who lives in Bangalore and writes in Kannada, tells the story of a family who make it from abject poverty to secure prosperity, but are not really happy in the process - "Ghachar Ghochhar" is also a novel made up of episodic narratives, concise and reduced, yet full of detailed depth of field, this book too, like its author, a discovery. (Construction Verlag, translated from English by Daniel Schreiber, Euro 18).

Perumal Murugans novel "Half a woman" takes you to the 1940s, a seemingly archaic village history that also tells the present, very dynamic, ludicrous, dramaturgically excellent, full of strength and energy. (Draupadi Verlag, translated from Tamil by Torsten Tschacher, Euro 18)

W.he learn more about the exciting History of the impact of the novel by Perumal Murugan would like to know, by the way, you will find it here: Translator Torsten Tschacher kindly provided us with the detailed afterword to his translation.