Narcopolis  (English, Hardcover, Jeet Thayil)

    95 Ratings & 16 Reviews
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    • Language: English
    • Binding: Hardcover
    • Publisher: Faber & Faber
    • ISBN: 9780571283071, 0571283071
    • Edition: 2012
    • Pages: 304
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    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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    Book Details
    • Imprint
      • FABER
    • Publication Year
      • 2012
    • Awards
      • DSC Prize for South Asian Literature
    • Award Year
      • 2013
    • Authored By
      • Jeet Thayil
    95 Ratings
    16 Reviews
    • 5
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    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    Most Helpful 
    Most Recent 
    By Certified Buyers 


    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 tho...

    Aditya W

    Certified Buyer

    16 Feb, 2012

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    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 in...

    Ampat Varghese

    Certified Buyer

    12 Jan, 2012

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    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.


    Certified Buyer

    26 Oct, 2012

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    If you are thinking to buy this book and read it with a cup of coffee or to relax please don't buy. i wonder what made this book a nominee for booker prize. am no linguistic expert but as a person fond of reading this one is a dampener. so much so that i don't feel like picking up another book after reading this one!1 it's like some sour food leaves a bad taste in ur mouth.

    Payal Kalra

    Certified Buyer

    14 Nov, 2012

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    Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil is one of the worst books I have ever read. Set in 1970's Bombay the book has weird characters and their stories make you puke and ponder if such people do exist in the world. With words in both hindi and english; the author is successful in weaving a hallucinatory novel that takes you to the dirtiest drug snorting dens to shady sex bars. The pages move slowly at times and I must say not worth the dope! DO NOT BUY OR BORROW!

    A Caveat: Just in case your willing to t...

    Avinaash Kastura

    Certified Buyer

    16 Jan, 2013

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    Indian Authors-Stop Tarnishing India's Image For Your Own Gain

    Yes..this book makes me introspect and evokes questions the little writer in me
    it makes me question my own judgment
    a book that was LONGLISTED for the prestigious MAN BOOKER PRIZE fails to appeal to me
    it is replete with profanities and the filth of old Bombay
    there is a tad too much of squalor in the book...Indian authors are now making use of the same formula to launch their potboilers. They write about the sordid streets in India and life of the poor with immense fervor and clarity. they...

    Bhavini Srivastava

    Certified Buyer

    16 Nov, 2012

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    A different Bombay through the author's pen!

    Never was Bombay portrayed like it has been in Narcopolis maybe because we were more inclined or exposed to the Bollywood part of it. What is more interesting is that the introduction is of seven pages and consists one sentence only. The book shows authors struggle in overcoming drugs, his relationship with Dimple and Rumi and his life at Rashids 'khana'.
    It is a dark and hard hitting book by Jeet Thayil.
    Loved it!

    Mohammed Goryawala

    Certified Buyer

    30 Aug, 2014


    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.

    Aga Syed Sameer

    Certified Buyer

    10 Jun, 2014


    And yes the drug went straight to my mind

    Yess the book is worth its awesome sitback while ur travelling or wen in search of a good book...

    Smit Badiani

    Certified Buyer

    3 Apr, 2014


    What do drugs do?

    In contrast to most of the glamorized drug stories we usually come across in movies the author strips glamour and exposes the reality. One has to get past a labyrinth of swear words and disgusting encounters, before being exposed to the naked truth. Overall this novel is good read and opens door to new arena, which has by far been hidden to most of our eyes. Most suited for readers who are looking for a very different subject and raw truth.

    Prasanthi Manoranjan

    Certified Buyer

    6 Nov, 2013

    View all 16 reviews
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