Six Underrated Indian Books: Anjum Hasan

Anjum Hasan

Anjum Hasan is a writer, poet and critic who has written two acclaimed novels, Lunatic In My Head, and Neti, Neti, and a poetry collection, Street on the Hill. Lunatic In My Head was nominated for the 2007 Crossword Book Award. She’s currently book editor for The Caravan magazine, and her essays and stories have been featured in several anthologies. We especially loved her recent essay in The Caravan about the poetry publisher, Clearing House

Lunatic in My Head

Getting There
Manjula Padmanabhan

A brilliant memoir of one year in the life of a twenty-something artist in Bombay (and the Netherlands). One of the funniest books I have read and, given the extent of the author’s self-exploration, one of the most revealing.

No God in Sight
Altaf Tyrewalla
Moving vignettes of the lives of Muslims in present-day Mumbai. A novel which explores disillusionment and the fraying of religious pieties without bitterness and with high voltage wit.

White Man Falling

White Man Falling
Mike Stocks
Set in a fictional small town in Tamil Nadu and concerned with the goings-on in the mind and in the family of a retired sub-inspector RM Swaminathan. Marvellously funny, highly empathetic and one of the few novels I have read that’s willing to explore the experience of spirituality from the inside.

Eunuch Park
Palash Krishna Mehrotra
At last a book of fiction which writes about contemporary us in a contemporary way! These stories bring out like nothing else I have read the harsh, gritty quality of urban India and the disenchantment of its middle-class youth.



Sujata Bhatt
I think this is one of the best books of Indian poetry. I love Bhatt’s penchant for stories; her curiosity; her love for the world’s tangibility, and her open, intimate, talking voice.

Travels with the Fish
CY Gopinath
A memorable and funny travelogue that takes us across India and the world driven by one agenda – food. I am nostalgic for Gopinath’s suave and yet unpretentious approach to food writing in this era of “haughty” cuisine!


2 responses to this post.

  1. I’ve read only one and that’s Eunuch Park. Really refreshing read especially since Indians tend to write about Indians only in terms of the smell of turmeric and the ample-bosomed aunties.


    • Well-said Sonal. Our ability to look beyond stereotypical personalities, and then spin tales around those traits is rare and a refreshing pleasure.


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