Vivek Shanbhag's Top 10 Picks
An engineer by training, Vivek Shanbhag wrote the highly acclaimed novel Ghachar Ghochar. The novel fascinated readers across the world after it was translated into English in 2015.
Vivek Shanbhag's highly acclaimed Kannada novel Ghachar Ghochar fascinated readers across the world after it was translated into English by Srinath Perur, in 2015. It will soon be published in 15 other languages. An established writer in Kannada, Shanbhag has written five short-story collections, three novels and two plays, and has edited two anthologies. From 2005 to 2012, he published and edited the literary journal Desha Kaala. Shanbhag's writing has appeared in Granta, Seminar, Indian Literature and Out of Print. An engineer by training, Shanbhag lives in Bengaluru.
The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories (Leo Tolstoy, Penguin Classics, Rs 350)
With every read, I have new insight into the 'ordinary' life and death of Ivan Ilyich. Tolstoy's prose has vividly captured the sound and colour of 19th-century Russia.
Tughlaq (Girish Karnad, Oxford India Perennials, Rs 195)
It is amazing how this play seems more and more contemporary and relevant with the rise of every authoritarian political leader in the world.
Mahabharata (Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Rs 190)
I can't remember when I read this first in Kannada. Apart from English, the Mahabharata is available in every Indian language. One of my all-time favourites.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera, Faber, Rs 399)
This is perhaps the best of Kundera's novels. I have not read another writer who has so effectively captured the inner world of displaced people.
The Burning Plain and Other Stories (Juan Rulfo, University of Texas Press, Rs 3,738)
This is one of the two books ever published by Rulfo, whom [Gabriel Garcia] Marquez admired. The stories come alive with graphic details. One can see the seeds of magic realism here.
A Friend of Kafka (Isaac Bashevis Singer, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Rs 840)
My journey with Singer began with this book, which I bought when I was 19. I loved the stories so much that I collected and read all his books over the next two decades. He remains one of my much-loved short-story writers.
Samskara: A Rite for a Dead Man (U. R. Ananthamurthy, translated by A. K. Ramanujan, Oxford India Perennials, Rs 225)
Every time I open this book, I experience the same fervour that I went through decades ago when I read it for the first time in Kannada. This modern classic has travelled the world through translations into various languages. The film Samskara is a milestone in Indian cinema.
Poovan Banana and Other Stories (Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, Orient Blackswan, Rs 375)
Vaikom Muhammad Basheer is a master storyteller. I wish I could read him in the original, Malayalam. The stories brilliantly depict life in Indian villages.
All the Names (Jose Saramago, Vintage Classics, Rs 499)
Long, winding sentences is characteristic of Saramago's prose. I could not put down this book till I finished reading it. Saramago knows how to disarm and capture his readers.
Making Waves (Mario Vargas Llosa, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Rs 1,065)
This collection of essays is a gem. Llosa brings together easily and wonderfully, politics, literature, films and many of his other interests.
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