I Am an Executioner: Book summary and reviews of I Am an Executioner by Rajesh Parameswaran

I Am an Executioner

Love Stories

By Rajesh Parameswaran

I Am an Executioner
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2012,
    272 pages.

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Book Summary

An explosive, funny, wildly original fiction debut: nine stories about the power of love and the love of power, two urgent human desires that inevitably, and sometimes calamitously, intertwine.

In I Am an Executioner, Rajesh Parameswaran introduces us to a cast of heroes - and antiheroes - who spring from his riotous, singular imagination. From the lovesick tiger who narrates the unforgettable opener, "The Infamous Bengal Ming" (he mauls his zookeeper out of affection), to the ex-CompUSA employee who masquerades as a doctor; from a railroad manager in a turn-of-the-century Indian village, to an elephant writing her autobiography; from a woman whose Thanksgiving preparations put her husband to eternal rest, to the newlywed executioner of the title, these characters inhabit a marvelous region between desire and death, playfulness and violence. At once glittering and savage, daring and elegant, here are wholly unforgettable tales where reality loops in Borgesian twists and shines with cinematic exuberance, by an author who promises to dazzle the universe of American fiction.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. An inventive, impressive and witty book." - Kirkus

"...Parameswaran should be applauded for pushing the limits of the genre and for the occasional searing brilliance of his language." - Publishers Weekly

"...[A]n incredibly exciting young American writer... whose darkly funny, wildly original stories about the power of love, and the love of power form a glittering, savage and elegant first collection." - The Short Review

"I Am an Executioner gets the pulse racing from word one. I love Rajesh because his last name is even more impossible than my own, and because he has redefined the American short story for me. Bravo!" - Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

"To claim that an author has written inventive stories about love conjures up many possibilities, but none will compare to the fertile imaginings of Rajesh Parameswaran. His debut collection, I Am an Executioner, is filled with the voices of astonishing characters - a misunderstood tiger, a strip mall con man who opens a medical clinic with only library texts to guide him, an executioner, a surveillance agent, a pompous railway manager, and more - whose pitch-perfect stories recalibrate the notion of love and power with dark humor and unbearable tenderness." - Walter Mosley

"I Am an Executioner is intelligent and hilarious and wildly imaginative. Parameswaran explores with great delicacy that fraught line between provincial life and modern times. There are traces of Chekhov in his writing. These stories have the power to endure." - Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, author of When Skateboards Will Be Free

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Rajesh Parameswaran's stories have appeared in McSweeney's, Granta, Zoetrope: All-Story, and Fiction. "The Strange Career of Dr. Raju Gopalarajan" was one of three stories for which McSweeney's earned a National Magazine Award in 2007, and it was reprinted in The Best American Magazine Writing. He lives in New York City.

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