The canvas image of the woman has drastically changed from that of a silent being to a bright and bold soul. She has proclaimed proudly that only the sky is her true limit. And she belongs rightfully in that limitless space. Books are her voice. Many women are rucking up quite a stir in the literary circles. Their award-winning books are rich in expression and poignant while exploring varied genres. Here are our top picks for the best books by female authors.
- The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan
Winner of the Washington State Book Award in 2003, this book is a must-read for its enchanting real-life story, the heavy doses of history, fairytale-like fantasy, traditional grandeur, and unmatched passion. It is a ‘rags to riches’ story of a beautiful woman who rose in stature, to become the undisputed Queen of the Mughal Empire, Nur Jahan.
- Arranged Marriage by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Winner of the American Book Award, the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award and the PEN Josephine Miles Award, Arranged Marriage is a fusion of prose and poetry. The book is a stellar collection of short stories. Even though arranged marriage is the common theme, each story has a unique, fresh perspective on this ancient institution and its clash with the modern ethos.
- Fire on the Mountain by Anita Desai
Awarded the Sahitya Academy Award in 1978, the book’s female protagonist, Nanda Kaul, seemingly has it all in life but she never found any meaning in a forced relationship and mechanical roles. In her old age, she escapes to the mountains of Kasauli where she finally finds joy and companionship. The fire is symbolic of the inner turmoil that is set ablaze in the mountains, which destroys the bitter past and illuminates her inner feminine strength.
- That Long Silence by Shashi Deshpande
In this Sahitya Akademi Award (1990) winning book, Jaya, the lead character, suffers at the hands of her dominating husband who doesn’t understand a woman’s need for her own identity and an equal place at home and in society. When Jaya’s powers of tolerance come to an end, she is forced to act. The author highlights how the patriarchal society is not only responsible for silencing women in society, but a woman’s refusal to break her long silence is also to be faulted.
- If It Is Sweet by Mridula Koshy
Winner of the 2009 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize, this book is a collection of 19 short stories. It leaves its readers bowled over by its spontaneity and freakishness, The protagonists of ‘a talking monkey’ hails from the society’s underbelly – garbage collectors, maids, laborers. Yet, Koshy stays clear from gimmicks of any sort – no charity promotions or grandeur social messages. She conveys their story through wondrous childlike eyes and pure humanity.