Bazaar India’s top picks on books about female friendships

These reads delve deep into the complexities, vulnerabilities, and all-too-powerful friendships that leave an irreplaceable mark on the lives of most women.

Harper's Bazaar India

Think of Blair Waldorf without her Serena Van Der Woodsen in Gossip Girl or Jane Eyre without Helen Burns, Eloise Bridgerton without Penelope Featherington, Jane, Kat and Sutton in the Bold Type or even you without your 3:00 a.m girls. For a long time, female friendships were perceived by most as overtly competitive and toxic or at best, frivolous and pretentious.

But it might be best to pardon the preconceived notions and stereotypical assumptions for what do they know of the unabashed pillars of support that women make, of the hugs that bring solace after a heartbreak or of the much-needed shove to chase your dreams when you think you can’t? Recently, a steadily growing conversation around the significance of female friendships is seen making its way through popular culture, dinner table talk, and even books. So, Bazaar India decided to explore the many books written about female friendships, and enlist its top picks. Read on. 

At Least You Have Your Health by Madi Sinha 

Written by Madi Sinha, author of the White Coat Diaries, this book follows the journey of Dr Maya Rao—a gynaecologist and mother of three—navigating her way through the tussles between her personal and professional life. When a disastrous incident with a patient forces her out of the hospital she has worked in all her life, a new opportunity, friendship, and adventure arises. She crosses paths with Amelia DeGilles, the owner of a wellness clinic in need of a gynaecologist, and what unfolds is a deep realisation about life, relationships and more. 

All The Right People by Priyanka Khanna 

Priyanka Khanna’s debut novel, All The Right People, follows the story of three girls, Tara, Shaan, and Aria, who form an inseparable bond when they meet at school and navigate everything from first loves and heartbreaks, to even university after that. A social media influencer in London now, Tara enjoys a high-society life with her friends and family by her side. But when her father makes it to the headlines for some not-so-great doings, the trio’s friendship also come under the radar. While all three are navigating life’s many twists and turns, it remains to be seen how they get through it all. All the Right People covers universal themes of love, loss, and friendship and is still close to home with familiar conversations and settings. 

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney 

Rooney is best known for the cultural sensibility and overarching themes of friendships and love that she brings to the fore in most of her books. Conversations with Friends follows the journey of two college students, Frances and her best friend, Bobbi who share a complex relationship with each other until the two are drawn to an older, married couple and the four navigate the complexities of relationships, friendships, and emotions. 

Clearly Invisible in Paris by Koël Purie 

Koël Purie’s debut novel, Clearly Invisible in Paris is yet another feather under her cap and is a heartfelt and passionate narrative set in the city of Paris. Despite living in the same apartment block in the city, Neera, Rosel, Violet, and Dasha have little idea about each other’s presence. Yet, when the pandemic hits, and the world closes in to the few people who are close to you, the four become the unlikeliest friends and pillars of support for each other as they navigate the feeling of alienation in an unknown space and life amid a lockdown. With laughter, tears, and everything in between, this read will take you through a gamut of emotions and leave you feeling warm. 

Best of Friends: A Novel by Kamila Shamsie 

They say opposites attract when it comes to romantic relationships—but does it hold true with friendships too? Set in the city of Karachi, Best of Friends by Kamila Shamsie narrates the story of Zahrah and Maryam who have been childhood best friends. They’re poles apart—yet their differences are never a topic of conversation. Ever. That is, of course, until decades later, their past resurfaces and they have to navigate through the unexpected conflicts and more. The book offers an incredible perspective on how friendships evolve with age and tells the story with compassion and humour.