Books: 3 Diaspora Indian Writers on Life in Another Cultural Context

The Indian diaspora is one of the largest in the world and many contemporary English-speaking Indian writers have settled outside India, the best known being Salman Rushdie and Amitav Ghosh.

The authors Aravind ADIGA, Mirza WAHEED and Prajwal PRAJULY belong to this diaspora and in the books presented in this selection, their characters also live abroad. With talent, they discover, for a young Tamil in Australia (Amnesty), an Indian doctor in the Middle East (Dr. K) and the Nepalese diaspora (No land is his), ways of living in the contemporary world outside their native cultural contexts.

Amnesty – Aravind ADIGA

Amnesty 2020 Ed Scribner

French translation Ed Globe 2022

Danny, whose real name is Dhananjaya Rajaratnam, is Tamil and originally from Sri Lanka where the novel begins. Arrived in Sydney on a student visa, he has become an honest and appreciated housekeeper who lives in an irregular situation. One day, he learns of the murder of one of the owners for whom he worked and of whom he knows elements concerning her.

The author makes us discover, like a noir novel, the destiny of Danny. And through the peculiarities of Australian society, the look he brings to the condition of migrant is of great acuity where humor is dominant.

Aravind Adiga's novel Amnesty

Aravind ADIGA, born in Madras, grew up in Mangalore and emigrated as a teenager with his family to Sydney. After studying at Columbia University and Oxford, he began his career as a journalist before returning to live in India. His remarkable first book, The White Tiger (2008), received the Booker Prize. The selection (2016) explores Mumbai through the passion of cricket. Amnesty is his 5th novel.

Dr K – Mirza WAHEED

Tell her everything Westland Publications 2018

Hindu Prize for Fiction 2019

French translation Actes Sud 2011

Dr. Kaiser Shah completed his medical studies in India before practicing for two years in London. Then, his whole career took place in an unnamed Middle Eastern country. When he retires to London in a beautiful apartment on the banks of the Thames, he decides in an imaginary conversation, to “tell everything to his only daughter” who lives in the United States: tell everything about their family life, tell everything about what were his professional choices.

This psychologically exciting book plunges us into the background of paternal love, in the disturbing atmosphere of Dr. K’s activities which appear with certainty at the end of the story, leading to the criticism of a terrifying religious justice.

The novel Dr K by Mirza Wahee

Mirza WAHEED, originally from Srinagar in Kashmir, has lived in London for about 20 years. First a journalist for the BBC and many newspapers, her first novel, The Collaboratorpublished in 2011 (not translated into French), has received numerous awards in England and India. Dr K is his third novel, crowned in India by the Hindu Prize for fiction in 2019 and the first translated into French.

No land is his – Prajwal PARAJULY

The Gurkha daughter Quercus 2012

French translation Ed Collas 2022

No land is his is the title of one of the eight short stories in this book whose characters are Nepalese, mostly from the diaspora and where women willingly play the leading role.

As a foreword, a map of the North East of India makes it possible to locate this region and the places where most of the stories will take place: in Nepal and in India in the states of Sikkim and West Bengal.

These short stories reveal, in a very lively and humorous way, this little-known Nepalese community, through the daily life of characters from different social groups and religions. All dream of a better life that the author brilliantly brings us to share.

A very nice discovery of the Nepalese community and its diaspora not to be missed.

The collection of short stories None is his by Prajwal Prajuly

Prajwal Parajuly (Nepalese name of writer) was born in 1984 in Gangtok in Sikkim from an Indian father and a Nepalese mother. Before beginning his career as a writer, he worked in New York for the magazine The Village Voice. Her first novel, Run away and come back (Ed Collas 2020) was a finalist for the Emile Guimet Prize for Asian Literature 2020 and won the 2020 Franco-Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Prize.

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Books: 3 Diaspora Indian Writers on Life in Another Cultural Context