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Narcopolis (English)

Author: Jeet Thayil
Hardcover
Language: English
Length: 304 Pages
Publisher: Faber & Faber
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Narcopolis (English) (Hardcover) Price: Rs.274

Narcopolis is a fictional book on Indian literature by Jeet Thayil. It gives an account of the city of Old Bombay over a period of three decades and the people and their incidents that occurred during that time.

Summary Of The Book

This book gives an amazing account of the shady and latent incidents that are generally overlooked by a common individual. The book gives an account ranging for a period of three decades. The place in which the story unfolds is called Shuklaji Street, in Old Bombay.

The opium place which belongs to a man called Rashid has many mysteries to offer. A lady in her youth is narrated to carry a pipe over a flame. She has a very shabby appearance. The people present in the room seem to grunt with disdain. The rule urges people to familiarize one’s deadliest opponent to opium. Then ghosts seem to prevail in and around the place belonging to different religions like Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. This book also gives a brief overview about an interlude in Mao's China. After that, there is this gossip about Pathar Maar, the stone killer. It is rumoured that Pathar Maar is very dangerous and feeds on the unseen poor masses. The characters introduced in the group are a horrific group of pimps, pushers, poets, gangsters, and eunuchs.

About Jeet Thayil

Jeet Thayil is a very popular Indian poet, novelist, and musician.

Apart from this book, he has authored many other books, some of which are These Errors Are Correct, Apocalypso, and Gemini.

The theme which is seen to be followed in his book is a rare blend of many prevalent emotions. He is often seen to express the plethora of drugs and alcohol, sex and death, which resembles the creations of Keats and Baudelaire. He is often described as a writer influenced more by foreign writers like William S. Burroughs and Roberto Bolano rather than the ones with an Indian tinge in their writings. But one must not be mistaken that despite implementing a combination of hints from various kinds of styles, his writing carries a unique charm which can be easily segregated from the writing style of any other author.

Jeet Thayil was born in Kerala, India. He received almost his entire education away from India. He obtained a Masters in Fine Arts from Sarah Lawrence College, which is situated in New York. He has since then received a number of prizes and accolades from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Swiss Arts Council, the British Council, and the Rockefeller Foundation. In addition to his writing skills, he is also very reputed as a performance poet and musician. He has laid his mark even as a songwriter and a guitarist. He has served as a journalist in totally diverse cities like New York, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Thayil got shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012 for writing this novel.

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Specifications of Narcopolis (English) (Hardcover)

Contributors
Authored By Jeet Thayil
Book Details
Publisher Faber & Faber
Imprint FABER
Publication Year 2012
ISBN-13 9780571283071
ISBN-10 0571283071
Language English
Binding Hardcover
Number of Pages 304 Pages
Awards DSC Prize for South Asian Literature
Award Year 2013
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Book Reviews of Narcopolis (English)

TOP REVIEWS View All Top Reviews (23)

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★★★★★
★★★★★
Aditya W
16 Feb 2012
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Spellbinding

Narcopolis is a hard hitting, realistic book that shines a light on the drug sub-culture in Bombay over the past 4 decades. The story revolves a motley cast and traces their lives against the backdrop of a fast changing city. Thayil's biggest success is that he neither glamorizes nor vilifies any of the protagonists, instead describing their weaknesses and foibles without any judgement or pity. Ultimately, this is a book about Bombay - perhaps the biggest drug of them all. A good read for those who want to learn more about a, hitherto ignored, side of this mad city.

8 of 8 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
Ampat Varghese
12 Jan 2012
first to review
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AFEEN AND HER ACOLYTES

This is not the book for the wishy washy airy fairy cup-o-chai bourgeoisie reader of Indian writing in English. This is for the connoisseur, one who knows the pipe and the tales of the smoke and mirrors of life. The journey into this Parnassus of quickened, heightened, multiplied consciousness in Narcopolis begins and ends in Bombay, with an exciting interlude in China and a mention of New York. It is a journey on the slow train of transgressions, living vicariously the vicissitudes of its inhabitants slipping djinn-like in and out of opiate tunnels of illumination. Dive in and discover the... ()

This is not the book for the wishy washy airy fairy cup-o-chai bourgeoisie reader of Indian writing in English. This is for the connoisseur, one who knows the pipe and the tales of the smoke and mirrors of life. The journey into this Parnassus of quickened, heightened, multiplied consciousness in Narcopolis begins and ends in Bombay, with an exciting interlude in China and a mention of New York. It is a journey on the slow train of transgressions, living vicariously the vicissitudes of its inhabitants slipping djinn-like in and out of opiate tunnels of illumination. Dive in and discover the...
This is not the book for the wishy washy airy fairy cup-o-chai bourgeoisie reader of Indian writing in English. This is for the connoisseur, one who knows the pipe and the tales of the smoke and mirrors of life. The journey into this Parnassus of quickened, heightened, multiplied consciousness in Narcopolis begins and ends in Bombay, with an exciting interlude in China and a mention of New York. It is a journey on the slow train of transgressions, living vicariously the vicissitudes of its inhabitants slipping djinn-like in and out of opiate tunnels of illumination. Dive in and discover the secrets of Dionysian harmonies.

76% of 29 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
Anjumon Sahin
13 Jan 2013
Jeet Thayil???s Narcopolis: Memory, Addiction and Affection

Jeet Thayil???s debut novel Narcopolis (2012) marks a continuation in the Indian literary scene of a conscious awareness of the problematics of identity and belonging (personal, religious, sexual, regional, national, and international) in an ever evolving post-independent, post-colonial India. The backdrop of the drug world where an unlikely set of characters come together provides the locus for the intersection of these elements. This theme is infused formalistically with a conscious stylistic engagement with what is now termed high modernism as well as postmodernism. James Joyce makes his... ()

Jeet Thayil???s debut novel Narcopolis (2012) marks a continuation in the Indian literary scene of a conscious awareness of the problematics of identity and belonging (personal, religious, sexual, regional, national, and international) in an ever evolving post-independent, post-colonial India. The backdrop of the drug world where an unlikely set of characters come together provides the locus for the intersection of these elements. This theme is infused formalistically with a conscious stylistic engagement with what is now termed high modernism as well as postmodernism. James Joyce makes his...
Jeet Thayil???s debut novel Narcopolis (2012) marks a continuation in the Indian literary scene of a conscious awareness of the problematics of identity and belonging (personal, religious, sexual, regional, national, and international) in an ever evolving post-independent, post-colonial India. The backdrop of the drug world where an unlikely set of characters come together provides the locus for the intersection of these elements. This theme is infused formalistically with a conscious stylistic engagement with what is now termed high modernism as well as postmodernism. James Joyce makes his presence felt as early as the prologue and is followed by Baudelaire, Burroughs among others pervading the spirit of the city of the dead. The narrator, Dom Ullis (Ulysses?), a Tiresias in the land of this rabidly globalising, decaying, dying city is himself a ghost. His ineffectuality is replicated by the pattern of the narrative itself where he appears and disappears by turns and even more so than Eliot???s Tiresias is not only not prophetic but barely able to decipher the meaning of the phantasmagoria of characters and images that surround him. Dom is unable to even take credit for his story transferring any active participation that storytelling might have accidentally granted him to the pipe.
Where Narcopolis gains is, apart from the realistic description of Bombay???s underbelly and its changing face over a span of over thirty years, is the effortless ease with which its author transforms autobiography into fiction. Thayil is quoted as saying ???I didn???t even bother changing some of the names, as they???re all dead now.??? The keen eye with which he makes his reader percolate the several layers of lives of the array of characters Dimple, Rumi, Rashid, Salim, Jamal, Bengali through the various episodes is achieved by allowing their multiplicity of the voices to emerge. This dialogic mode is one of the reasons that prevent the novel from becoming just another drug/junkie novel. For it is not just addiction to heroine or opium that return the narcos (the inhabitants of this narco-polis) to this world. Everyone is trapped in their own personal hell, the pipe just helps them burn in another one. Dimple is addicted to knowledge, Rumi to violence, Mr Lee to his China, Rashid to Dimple as Thayil is to his Bombay.
Nietzsche might have been right in asserting that ???blessed are the forgetful??? but it is a luxury that only a few can lay claim to. Memory finds its most painful rendition in acting as a persistent reminder to the inhabitants of this Hades of their dislocation and it is this inability to forget which is also the failure to forgive or outgrow the past. The displacement physical/geographical as well as mental resurges at key moments whether it is when Dimple recounts her childhood with her mother Hindu-Christian mother in north-east India or Mr Lee???s personal history of China. This rootlessness of being which the characters often try to repress finds alternative modes of expression in religion or opium or sex but is bound to fail as the past they are trying to recapture is as illusory as the present they inhabit. Yes, Bombay is dying. To quote the author, ???Everybody is dying...??? But there is yet time for the burial of the dead in this Narcopolis/Necropolis. Redemption lies just around the corner from Shuklaji Street. The glimmer of it is found in the various manifestations of love that still makes itself felt despite all odds. Of course love too is often muted, perverted, dead, or even a ghost and is rarely if at all expressed. Still it exists and beyond life and often inextricably intertwined with memory. Lives are stretched beyond death as long as one is remembered: Mr Lee comes back from the dead when Dimple betrays her last promise to him and Dimple will remain alive as long as Rashid???s memory does. Even the fraudulent S T Pande who is his own publisher and bookseller (reminiscent of Swift) hints at the necessity of remembering to forget. Its placement in the text also questions the very nature of fictionality as well as reality when fiction is placed within fiction.
The end, as it has often been remarked, marks the transition of an ever evolving Bombay whose ever-changing yet ever-the-same sea is all that remains from an older world long dead. Bleak as it is, it also marks a forward movement, an acceptance of the old world on its own terms without blaming it and without guilt. Spider-man Shankar won???t return to that world but cares enough to convey his regards to his old boss and Ullis is no longer a regular but a visitor. This understanding of addiction (to drugs, violence, love, sex, memory) and its reasoned acceptance/rejection on its own terms is where Narcopolis??? beauty lies. For, here races condemned to hundred years of solitude might still have a second opportunity on earth.

2 of 2 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
David
26 Oct 2012
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certified buyer
Luring

And when I flipped the book open; out came that proverbial smoke, grabbing me by the wrist and dragging me into the second dimension.

Narcopolis transports you into the world of 'O' and Mumbai. Very well written. If you're looking for a book that isn't very demanding then this is the book for you.

2 of 2 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
Emmanuel
27 Jan 2013
Scrambled

stories are all scrambled,u hv 2 find in ur own way 2 unscramble it 2 get 2 the real perspective of the story....anyways the story is really good but not for casual readers bcoz tin hurry they might get jumbled up in real mess and find the book really uninteresting....but a must read for the willing ones

1 of 1 users found this review helpful.

Recent Top Reviews

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★★★★★
★★★★★
A. Syed Sameer
10 Jun 2014
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Amazing and Brute in detail

It is one the books that has an explicit and brute to the face language. Giving an glimpse of the dark side of the maximum city through the eyes of a transgender Dimple. The whole narrative is opium-coated for the raw effect on the reader. (View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
Balaji Rajan
26 Apr 2014
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Narcopolis

Dark book, from the underbelly of a large megapolis that does not have time for this marginalised section.

You feel as unclean as the author unwinds the story, and there is a strong urge for ablutions, as if they would clean you from the muck.

Very recommended book, a different perspective of...
(View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
Dhaarini.R
12 Apr 2014
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A DREAMY JOURNEY

A fantastic journey into the hitherto unknown Bombay.The author weaves a chilling story into
a prolific prose to produce a stark picture of drugs and depravation.The characters come alive in this narrative and each page expands as a visual canvas in the readers mind.Felt a bit depressed after t...
(View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
Smit Badiani
03 Apr 2014
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And yes the drug went straight to my mind

Yess the book is worth its price...an awesome sitback while ur travelling or wen in search of a good book... (View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
Kester Noronha
25 Mar 2014
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incredibly relating

felt like i'm a part of the characters inside!! places they go to scores, i been to 85% of the places, pilahouse, murugan chawl(khar), bandra east!, grant road east!(i stayed there)!
felt like i'm moving with them where the head to!
(View complete review)

    Book: Narcopolis (English) by
    ISBN Number: 0571283071, 9780571283071, 978-0571283071

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