English writing from Assam is not a new phenomenon. In recent years several writes emerged from this region with stories deep rooted from their origin. Here is our pick for 9 must-read English fiction books by writers from Assam. For this list we have considered original fiction titles written in English by writers who are either born in Assam or based in Assam. Translated works are not considered.
1. The House with a Thousand Stories by Aruni Kashyap
Set in the village of Mayong, Aruni Kashyap’s debut novel The House with a Thousand Stories tales the story of human suffering in the backdrop of insurgency and draconian administration through the eyes of a young city boy, Pablo. The book will undeniable make you fall in love with Assamese culture and traditions all over again.
2. The Collector’s Wife by Mitra Phukan
The Collector’s Wife looks into the life of Rukmini, wife of a District Collector of a small town in Assam, on the backdrop of the Assam Agitation of the 1970s and 80s. It was the one of the first generation novels in English written by an Assamese writer to be published by an international house.
3. A Bowstring Winter by Dhruba Hazarika
Set in the picturesque location of Shillong, A Bowstring Winter tells the story of unusual friendship between John Dkhan, a political science teacher, and James Kharlukhi and his gang. Other titles of Dhruba Hazarika includes novel Sons of Brahma and short stories collection Luck.
Source: Penguin Books India
4. Boats on Land by Janice Pariat
Boats on Land, the debut collection of short stories, by Janice Pariat re-imaginings of the transformations that swept through Northeast India during a period of three centuries, starting in the 1850s. The book also won the 2013 Sahitya Akademi Young Writer Award for the English language.
5. The Grasshopper’s Run by Siddhartha Sarma
The invasion of the Imperial Japanese army in 1944 wipes out an entire Naga village. Gojen, a young boy, is intent on avenging the murder of his best friend. Siddhartha Sarma’s The Grasshopper’s Run won the Crossword Book Award for Children’s Literature of 2010.
6. The Girl From Nongrim Hills By Ankush Saikia
Ankush Saikia’s noir thriller The Girl from Nongrim Hills shows us a dark side of Shillong. This gripping book will definitely put you on the edge of your seat.
7. His Share of Sky by Rashmi Narzary
His Share of Sky is a collection of short stories set in a remote Bodo village and follows the adventure of a young boy and his friends. Rashmi Narzary won the 2016 Sahitya Akademi Bal Puraskar in the English category for this book.
8. Rebirth by Jahnavi Barua
Jahnavi Barua’s debut novel Rebirth is explores the journey of Kaberi, who narrates episodes of her life and vivid memories to her unborn child. Author’s other credit includes Next Door, a collection of short stories.
9. Chocolate Guitar Momos by Kenny Basumatary
Know for his debut feature Local Kung Fu, which gained a cult status among Assamese viewers, Kenny Basumatary also published a novel interestingly titled Chocolate Guitar Momos. This light hearted book tells the story of aspiring musician Joseph and his unsuccessful relationships.
Which is your favourite book? Did we miss anything you like? Let us know in the comment section below.