Today we will talk about 10 books set in The Colonial Era that you need to read right away. Fiction set in the colonial era has a different vibe to it. There is an exotic flavour, a kind of nostalgic aura around the whole time period. Infuse that with the interaction of two very different cultures and you have the perfect setting for a historical fiction.
10 Books Set In The Colonial Era That You Need To Read Right Away:
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
- Burmese Days by George Orwell
- A Passage to India by E M Forster
- Those Days by Sunil Gangopadhyay
- Monsoon by Vimala Devi
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
- Kim by Rudyard Kipling
- The Far Pavilions by M M Kaye
- A Many-Splendored Thing by Han Suyin
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
This classic novel captures the essence of the transformative moment before and after independence. Pitting traditionalism against colonial culture and paganism against Christianity, this book tells the story of a man whom anger engulfs. At its heart is a village wrestling champion, but the themes of the book penetrate deeper than his surface story.
Burmese Days by George Orwell
This book, with its slight satirical and great literary touch, brings to life the days of the Empire in Burma. Orwell exposes the corruption of the times through the characters of Flory and Dr Veraswami. Flory is a white timber merchant, who strikes up an unexpected friendship with the black colonial sycophant, Dr Veraswami.
A Passage to India by E M Forster
In this book, two English women arrive at a small town in India, and seek the help of an Indian Muslim doctor to explore it. Finding himself in the clutches of a scandal, Dr Aziz unravels a narrative that is as lyrical as it is engaging. This book is a rich portrait of imperial India.
Those Days by Sunil Gangopadhyay
This historical fiction takes place on a grand scale in the years leading up to the first Indian rebellion against the British in 1857. AT its heart are two families, the Singhas and Tagores, whose families intertwine in matters of love, political ideology and profession. There are a host of other characters too, all of them fledged out and contributive to the essence.
Monsoon by Vimala Devi
This is a collection of short stories written originally in Portuguese. But more appropriately, it’s an evocation of colonial Goa, in its vibrancy and unique culture. With a host of stories that range from satirical to lamenting and tender, this feels like a photograph frozen in time. The best part is that they have sociohistorical as well as personal dimensions.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
This book unfolds in colonial Boston, and follows a woman’s struggles as she births a baby outside of marriage. Along with the birth of her natural son comes a whole lot of societal stigma, humiliation and the life of an outcast. But such is her determination and resilience that she finds a way to thrive despite her circumstances.
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
This is the first book in the Ibis trilogy, which introduces us to the host of characters in the days leading up to the Opium War. The Opium war erupts when the British smuggle the opium they grow in India into China, whose citizens grow addictions for opium. With a vibrant cast and very interesting socioeconomic setting, this is a must read.
Kim by Rudyard Kipling
At the fulcrum of this book are two men – a young white boy and an old Indian ascetic. The white boy straddles two cultures, attempting to unite them into one cord of seamless harmony. Meanwhile, the ascetic dreams of escape from the wheel of time and its countless reiterations.
The Far Pavilions by M M Kaye
This is a vibrant colonial love story of an English man called Ashton and an Indian princess. Against the backdrop of the clash between the East and West, and the propensity towards violence and greed, this epic story emerges.
A Many-Splendored Thing by Han Suyin
In this book, a British foreign correspondent who has a wife falls in love with a Eurasian doctor in Singapore. This book has a strong cultural standpoint which makes its exploration of the colonial times all the more meaningful.