Nominated by:

India International Centre Library, New Delhi

Publisher of nominated edition:

The Penguin Press, USA


Jeet Thayil      

2014 Longlist

Stray dogs lope in packs. Street vendors hustle. Hookers call for custom through the bars of their cages as their pimps slouch in doorways in the half-light. There is an underworld whisper of a new terror: the Pathar Maar, the stone killer, whose victims are the nameless, invisible poor. There are too many of them to count in this broken city.

Narcopolis is a rich, chaotic, hallucinatory dream of a novel that captures the Bombay of the 1970s in all its compelling squalor. With a cast of pimps, pushers, poets, gangsters and eunuchs, it is a journey into a sprawling underworld written in electric and utterly original prose.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Jeet Thayil was born in 1959 in Kerala, India. He was educatied in Hong Kong, New York, and Bombay, cities where his father worked as an editor and writer. His four poetry collections include These Errors Are Correct and English. He is the editor of The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets. As a musician and songwriter, he is one half of the contemporary music project Sridhat/Thayil. Nacropolis, his first novel, has been translated into five languages. He lives in Delhi.

Librarian’s Comments

A brilliant novel. Nothing like this exists in Indian literature. The novel is a first-rate literary achievement and the lucid and versatile prose style bespeaks mastery of language, and lends itself to finding richness and value in the surreal, the mystical, the natural, the haunted, the stuff of vivid dreams and hallucinations, and occasionally collides with the world of the restless dead.

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