Even memorable female characters written by Indian male authors might often sound unreal, but sometimes they get it right.
When men write about women, women cringe, but what if the female characters in the books are written well with a unique voice and are memorable? In recent fiction in India, men have created female characters who demand their own space in their critically acclaimed books.
by Tanuj Solanki
The tone of this book is solipsistic, but two female characters stand out in the novel among other peripheral female characters. Anne-Marie and Noon. Anne-Marie is the ex-girlfriend of the narrator T and Noon is the Thai prostitute he encounters in Pattaya. The narrator forgets himself when he talks about these women even though it is in relation to him.
by Jerry Pinto
The book is centered around Em, the narrator’s mother. She is eccentric and unforgettable. All other characters in the book are overshadowed because of her. We understand the narrator’s world through Em who suffers from some mental illness. The narrator’s quest to understand his mother is moving.
by Manu Bhattathiri
This title story’s heroine is Savithri. A grandmother. It is one of the most intriguing and moving stories from the collection because of Savithri’s love for her grandchild. The story talks about limitless love. Another protagonist comes to mind from the collection, the woman from the story ‘The Wife’s Leg’ – at the end of the story she stays in the reader’s head lingering there creating endless questions. Other stories have women who are memorable too like the girl from ‘Paachu and The Arrogant Tuft’, the girl from ‘Music and Love’.
by Akhil Sharma
The mother in Family Life is the rock of the family. When the narrator’s brother becomes brain damaged after an accident, the father becomes an alcoholic unable to cope with the crisis. The brother (narrator) is too small to understand the pain, and the mother is looked up to by everyone as a saint and they seek her blessings. We get to meet other women from the narrator’s life in the novel too.
by Vivek Shanbhag
It is a translation from Kannada. The female protagonists in this novella play a big role in showing family dynamics. Chitra, Tuvvi, Amma, Malati, Anita. Even peripheral female characters will leave an imprint on you. Most memorable are Malati the sister and Anita the wife. They shake the reader out of their comfort zone.
by Damodar Mauzo
It is a translation from Konkani. Karmelin is a Goan maid in the Gulf. The story is written in her voice. The novel is about her life in Goa and the Gulf, her struggles, her joys. A bold voice, Mauzo makes the reader care for Karmelin and speaks for many maids who come to the Gulf in the hope of earning a living.
by Kaushik Barua
Two female characters play a pivotal role in the narrator Krantik’s life. Pooja, his fiancée who attempts to commit suicide but fails. Chiara, an interesting and mysterious girl whom he meets and comes to like. Both the women have a certain amount of mystery and are strong in their own way. Other female characters make minimal appearances in the novel, if only, in references.
by Manu Joseph
The book reads like a family drama and literary thriller. The female protagonists in this novel are memorable and pivotal to the story. The mother who mumbles to herself because of a traumatic experience in the past and the neighbour girl. Throughout the novel the reader wonders what is it that made Unni take his life? Could it about his artwork, the men in his life or the women?
by Mohit Parikh
Manan has reached puberty and he has been waiting for this since long. He has a strong affection for the girl Hridya. His sister Pinki didi loves a man Bhavesh. How does Manan respond to these two women in the book? He doesn’t objectify them though he has just been introduced to the internet and its fancies. They are women who make their choices.
by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar
Among other female protagonists like Gurubari, Putki, Della. Rupi stands out. Her marriage to Sido pushes her into a crisis that takes away from her not only her innocence but also her health, and from a naive girl from a village she turns into a strong – emotionally and mentally, if not physically – woman who has to fight and keep on fighting in order to survive and to stay sane.
Can you recommend any books by Indian male authors, with relatable and memorable female charachters, too?
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