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7 South Asian Books NOT about Marriage
When you think of a book written by a South Asian author, I know the first thing you think about is marriage or dating.
If you’re South Asian yourself, maybe you’ll add Partition into the mix, but that’s a post for another person more qualified than me.
Seriously, if you write that post let me know and I’ll link it here!
So, are all South Asian books about marriage? It seems every writer I discover of South Asian heritage has written at least one book on dating or arranged marriage.
It’s rare for me to find a book that doesn’t focus on this topic.
I’m not against this topic at all, I love a good Asian wedding as much as anyone simply but I want to read stories that share more about our culture than just marriage.
Why do South Asian Writers Focus on Marriage or Dating?
South Asians or any Asian, Arab, African culture revolves around family and a lot of that revolves around marriage.
Times are now changing, but if you have a parent from one of these cultures believe me as soon as you hit puberty, this will be the only topic on their mind!
I love that so many South Asian writers have been given the opportunity to explore their culture with stories about getting married or finding The One, but I think it’s high time we explored stories within the community that focus on something other than getting married.
How about mental health, life after marraige, life after the death of a partner.
Which is why I present to you books that don’t talk about marriage and dating by South Asian writers!
I’d never heard of Sathnam Sanghera until randomly flicking TV one day, I came across the mini-series based on his best-selling book, The Boy With The Top Knot.
Sathnam discovers that his father is Bipolar as is his sister, and his family has kept it a secret for most of Sathnam’s life.
Little pieces of history finally start to make sense, and with a reluctant narrator in his mum, Sathnam finally starts to tell the story of how his parents kept such a big secret from them and how Mental Illness is never talked about in the Asian community.
I would highly recommend this book, it will make you cry but it is an important read.
Those of us living away from our ancestral homeland will always have a feeling of loss and this is the premise for Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri.
Comedy of Manners
In a sleepy English Village, a Non-Practicing British Pakistani Muslim’s seat in the Parish Council is under threat after he decides to honour his mother’s dying wish and build a mosque where only he, his wife and son are the only Muslims around.
If you’re familiar with the work and wit of Jane Austen, this will be a delight for you as a modern comedy of manners which explores trying to fit in whilst holding onto what you believe.
I’ve reviewed This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik and if you don’t already, run to get your copy.
The title may put you off or confuse you but at its heart, this is a story of identity and trying to merge two cultures together.
Nobody ever sets stories in Southall that I’ve read so far, and this is an area very familiar to British Asians in the UK.
This is a murder mystery, a story of life after widowhood and a story of a parent mourning the loss of their child all encapsulated in a seemingly fluffy novel.
I’d recommend this for anyone who’s not shy about erotic fiction which only forms a small part of the book, but also wants to understand how shame, secrets and suicide affect the asian community.
This is a true story of Sadia Shepard the half-Muslim, half-Christian author discovering that her grandmother has a secret which she bestows with her dying breaths.
She was originally Jewish and converted to Islam be with Sadia’s grandfather who already had a family.
She urges Sadia to go on a journey to discover her Jewish routes in India.
This is a fascinating book that really takes you on a tale and well worth exploring the Jewish history of India which I had no clue about.
How does a British Pakistani man from Yorkshire go onto become one of the biggest names in television and celebrates his queerness proudly?
Read Naturally Tan by Tan France to find out.
Tan France is the fashion expert on Netflix’s Queer Eye and is incredibly warm, compassionate and stylish!
I’ve done a review on his book here if you wish to read more about this book.
Despite the title, this book is not about Djinns.
It’s about child kidnapping and human trafficking that goes on in many countries but told from the limited viewpoint of a child who thinks Djinns or evil spirits are taking his friends and classmates in an unnamed city in India.
I’ve reviewed the book here if you wish to know more.
And that’s my picks for South Asian books NOT about marraige or dating!
Let me know if you have any recommendations in the comments below.
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