Hi Sharon,So now I kick the list over to you - which books do you think should have been included on the list? Which titles would you vote for and why?
Okay here is a first pass, nothing is in any particular order (yet) and its absolutely not ready for publication. I'm sending to get your input - particularly re the ones I haven't read (but am sure you have) and any others I don't know about. Please add whatever you'd like to, and mark the ones you completely disagree with. Then I'll take another pass at it.
Thanks, have fun with it.
PS You'll see that I've included a couple of British Asian books - occupational hazard of living in London!
The Best Asian Books of the Decade :
Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
Temptations of the West – How to be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet and Beyond by Pankaj Mishra
Silk Road by Colin Thubron
Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta
Beijing Coma – Ma Jian
The Wasted Vigil by Nadeem Aslam
Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin
The Temple-Goers by Aatish Taseer
Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw
The Last Song of Dusk by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi
Inspector Chen Series by Qiu Xiaolong
The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh
Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra ( but a touch too long)
Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry ( not as good as A Fine Balance – isn’t it time he wrote another book?)
Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
The Golden Age by Tahmima Anam
Butcher and Bolt by David Loyn – excellent primer on Afghanistan
Greetings from Bury Park: Race Religion and Rock and Roll by Sarfraz Mansoor
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Snow by Orhan Pamuk (although I feel My Name is Red is better, this one is more relevant to contemporary Turkey)
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
The White Moghuls by William Dalrymple
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts but could have been abou t30% shorter
White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Descent into Chaos by Ahmed Rashid
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
China Road by Rob Gifford
Writing on the Wall: China and the West in the 21st Century by Will Hutton
God’s Terrorists by Charles Allen (fascinating although the author felt he could have done better)
Holy Warriors: A Journey into the Heart of Indian Fundamentalism by Edna Fernandes
Khandahar Cockney by James Fergusson – eye opening book about the life of an asylum seeker from Afghanistan
I might not have suggest these but people suggested them ( ie I don’t think they are as great as other people do!):
Brick Lane by Monica Ali – not so sure about this one, but a number of people suggested it.
Persepolis: The Story of an Iranian Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini
The Places in Between by Rory Stewart
Ones I haven’t read but I understand are noteworthy.
The Vagrants by Yiyun Li
The Boat by Nam Le
Madwoman on the Bridge by Su Tong
Evening is the Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan
Once on the Shore by Paul Yoon
The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim
The Assassin’s Song by MG Vassanji
Imperial Life in The Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Let me also slip in this link to Asian Literary Review editor Chris Woods' list of best books of 2009 [via] which has some excellent Asian titles on it.
*A correction needed here. Adrienne's company is The Asian Word and the Lit fest is only one of Adrienne's products. She curates other Asian literature events at other venues in London (current projects are at the National Portrait Gallery and at Kings Place) as well as the first Asian women's literature festival which will take place in London in October / November and will be produced in partnership with the Pan Asian Women's Association (PAWA). More about these projects later.