I have always felt modern literature (anytime) should draw its inspiration from the legendary publications that became timeless. We still remember works by Thomas Hardy, Austen, Eliot, Thackeray and who can forget Shakespeare! They were the greats who produced amazing works of literature. However, in modern literature, we seldom get to witness a book that could beat the walls of time (and become timeless). Even the works that go on to win prizes are done within a few years. Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss, Salman Rushdie’s several works, and eventually the books by many authors that attract appreciation and admiration at one point in time, get off the stage of fame after a few years. It is not because readers have a short memory (which may be true). It is because the authors are unable to offer something that’s timeless and fits into the social structure for centuries. The authors are getting far from fundamental human values in search of something incredible. And therefore, if you want to experience timelessness, here are the books that you must read. And those who are students of literature and would like to know how to study these classic works, please read this article – how to study English literature.
Hard Times by Charles Dickens: Hard Times, in short, is about human fortune, understanding, and the ability to accommodate the ideas and feelings of others in society. Dickens produced a timeless work of literature in Hard Times. There are two apparent sets of characters in the novel with a few who accept change in the end. The novel brings with it a classic Dickensian experience in terms of style, language and overall impression. You will love it for sure. Buy Dickens’ novel from Amazon India – click here to get a copy.
The Guide by R. K. Narayan: I will always name this novel with the all-time greats in world literature. The Guide brings Indian philosophy, Indian longings, Indian psyche, and a mini India on the platter for readers. Railway Raju represents India united – Indians who have the ambition to scale new heights and become successful. Rosie, on the other hand, brings with her the dilemma and conundrum that comes with a marriage (made for social responsibilities rather than individual happiness and contentment). Marco, without much of his fault, is every Indian person who suffers just for chasing their goals passionately. Yes, once you read the novel, you will realise Marco’s mistakes eventually. The Guide is a novel that you must read! Buy the novel from Amazon – click here to go to Amazon.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe: An autograph of greatness on world literature, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart tears into the colonial narrative of civilising ‘others’ and making the world better by ruling over it. The world acknowledges this angst today. Colonial and post-colonial debates have come too far and work like Things Fall Apart has played a significant role in making the world aware of the problems that colonies suffered. Things Fall Apart is the mental, physical, cultural and even civilisational strife of the people who were enslaved by the colonisers. Do read this powerful work of literature with very striking imagery and a memorable protagonist. Buy Achebe’s novel now – click to get a copy from Amazon.
Candida by G B Shaw: I am not sure you should read this play by G B Shaw or watch it in action. In any case, you will feel the tension in the hearts of the characters in this drama. Shaw has written many plays in his lifetime. However, Candida comes to me as the most significant and clever work. It portrays the conjugal struggles, women’s ambitions, desires and also their fears. I bet you will not only like, but also appreciate the work for its originality and the playwright’s treatment of human emotions. Get a copy of Candida from Amazon – click here to buy now.
Kanthapura by Raja Rao: Raja Rao will always be an inspiration for me as a novelist! He had a unique ability to create powerful images resembling many things at once. Kanthapura is a pre-independence novel inspired by Gandhian philosophy. However, there is more to it. Raja Rao has used Hindu religious imagery to exhibit unity in the country. Hari Katha is at the centre of the storyline. People from all strata of society come together to pray, sing, and ponder. You will find the novel full of instances that countersign the famous Indian philosophy – unity in diversity. Do read this novel soon. Get a copy from Amazon India – click here to buy.
Friends, this was the list for today. I will bring more such lists on the Intellectual Reader platform in the coming days. Enjoy reading the books! All the best and happy winter!
Nidhi for Intellectual Reader