5 best Indian beach reads

palace of illusions

I picked up The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakarunie in Delhi airport earlier this year - based in Hindu mythology, it re-tells the epic story of Mahabharata from a woman's perspective - narrated by Panchaali, wife of 5 Pandava brothers, its the story of a woman born into a man's world - a totally absorbing world of mystery and magic, I was captivated by this modern reworking of such a timeless tale.

I'm planning on taking a bit of a Rajasthan train trip this autumn to cut down on our carbon footprint as a business - it's so easy to 'hop on a flight' in India, but I'm mindful of reducing internal flights where I can - hence my next pick, Around India in 80 trains, Monisha Rajesh - a classic 'Jules Verne-esque' travelogue where Monisha rediscovers the country of her childhood over 40,000km, through India's famous railways.

Whilst a lot of Indian fiction can tackle big cultural and political subjects, this next read is a shot of brilliant sunshine and a fun insight into modern Indian family life. A great sunlounger read, Those Pricey Thakur Girls by Anuja Chuhan is set in a smart Delhi neighbourhood and follows an eccentric retired Supreme Court Judge and his five daughters. It reminds me fondly of many of the characters I've met on my travels throughout India.

Watched Slumdog Millionnaire? Now read the book that inspired the blockbuster film - Q&A by Vikas Swarup is as rivoting as the big-screen version - a great holiday page-turner.

city of djinns

British Writer William Dalrymple has lived in Delhi on and off for 25 years. Written as a novel, City of Djinns documents his love affair with the red city; featuring colourful characters including his Sikh landlady, British survivors of the Raj and eunuch dancers. It's great to read such a warm and nostalgic tale about a city I love too, from another Indiophile.

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