When 35-year old Kiran Desai was nominated for the Booker, there was quite a stir created since she was following the footsteps of her thrice-nominated, renowned author-mother, Anita Desai. However, when she won it, people wondered when her mother would follow suit. After this victory, Kiran’s first book was suddenly transported into limelight. Heralded only by critics initially, many readers praised her debut, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, and called her second prize-winning book (The Inheritance of Loss) a befitting follow-up to the former.
There are many other authors whose first works (of fiction) have garnered similar reactions. Of course, there’s Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things and Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. There’s Siddharth Dhanwant Shanghvi’s The Last Song of Dusk and for that matter, even Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone. However, here’s a list of three authors whose names might not have come to your mind instantly. Feel free to add more examples of your own.
1. Keep Off the Grass – Karan Bajaj
This novel has seen its time in the bestsellers’ lists across India. Bajaj is one of the writers in India whose book sales have created records of their own. This one is about Samrat, your new-age Sindbad. His travels make him learn and unlearn more than he could have ever have imagined. From Yale to Dharamshala to Varanasi, the book will surprise you to no end. And when you do reach the end, you will discover how the title of the book is an epiphany in itself.
2. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
In 1982, when the first of the Adrian Mole titles was published, little did author Sue Townsend know that the series would turn out to be something that boys especially in their late teens would swear by. The entire series consists of nine books and chronicles the life of Adrian Mole till the time he is married. The feelings that he has for his childhood sweetheart Pandora mirror the relationships that young couples share even today. This one is her best-selling book and till date, the most loved out of the entire series.
3. The Sari Shop – Rupa Bajwa
From a writer who hails from Amritsar herself, this book is an exploration of the lives of the various classes of society that live in the city. It takes the reader through the day-to-day life of Ramchand, an assistant at a sari shop as he visits various houses and revisits the thoughts that he has for them. Bajwa’s depiction of each of her characters is done to perfection. For me, this is a classic debut and definitely a book that should not be missed.