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6 Must-Read Books With Queer Character Leads

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The lack of LGBTQ+ representation in books is discouraging to young queers struggling with their sexuality, gender, and identity. This is why having books with queer characters is imperative to normalising queerness. Books have the power of providing questioning readers with a safe space to explore who they are. Add the struggle of dealing cultural identity with the struggle of exploring  gender and sexuality. These Indian writers provide an insight into both queerness and dealing with a heteronormative society. In this article we bring you six must-read books with queer characters by Indian authors. Queer books

1. The Devourers – By Indra Das

The Devourers is a novel by Indra Das. It is a dark fantasy with elements of horror with historical fiction. The novel alternates between different time periods and perspective. Alok Mukherjee is a college professor who meets a stranger with an intriguing tale of shape-shifters that need to devour human souls to survive. To Alok’s disappointment, the story remains unfinished and to complete the story he begins translating and transcribing a collection of texts. The documents describe a brutal age when people were ruled by instinct and desires.

The queer aspects of the book is interwoven into the plot without being distracting. Thus it is great for readers that want to be immersed into a dark fantastical world with less focus on romance.

2. A Married Woman – By Manju Kapur

A Married Woman is a novel by Manju Kapur that follows the queer lead, Asha through high school till married life. Raised to be a dutiful wife and nothing more, Asha is filling with yearning and undiscovered potential. Asha’s search to find herself leads her on a journey of self discovery, love, and acceptance. She is relatable, not just as a queer character who begins to discover herself after reaching adulthood. Asha is also relatable as a woman that has been forced into following the rigid expectations of a patriarchal society.

3. Loving Women: Being Lesbian in Unprivileged India – By Maya Sharma

Loving Women: Being Lesbian in Unprivileged consists of ten real-life narratives from queer women in India. This book focuses on the queer working class women in North India. It gives an insight to into the LGBTQ+ lives that remain underrepresented in mainstream media. The book also dives into the intersectionality of caste, religion, and sexuality.

4. The Boyfriend – By R Raj Rao

The Boyfriend is R Raj Rao’s first novel based in Mumbai that discusses sexuality, caste, and class. It is one of the first queer novels to come from India. The book follows the queer lead Yudi, a journalist who falls in love with a much younger Dalit boy. Through Yudi’s eyes we can explore the Mumbai and its queer subculture. The book is known for its relatable portrayal of heartbreak and infatuation.

5. Me Hijra, Me Laxmi – By Laxmi Narayan Tripathi

Me Hijra, Me Laxmi is an autobiography by Laxmi Narayan Tripathi. This memoir is a mix of powerful and emotional. It describes her journey of coming to terms with her identity, obstacles she faced, and her activism. The autobiography sheds light on the life of transperson. It provides the readers with insight about gender and sex.

6. She of the Mountains – By Vivek Shraya

She of the Mountains is a novel by Vivek Shraya that interweaves two stories. One narrative focuses on the queer lead, a Hindu boy growing up in Canada. The other narrative is a retelling of Hindu mythology focusing on Parvati, Shiva and Ganesh. Both narratives talk about a person can be damaged by not being free to explore their sexuality and gender.

 

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