Based on actual events, The Story of My Assassins tells the story of a journalist who learns that the police have captured five hitmen on their way to kill him. Landing like a bombshell on his comfortable life, just as he's started a steamy affair with a brilliant woman, the news prompts him to launch an urgent investigation into the lives of his aspiring murderers - a ragtag group of street thugs and village waifs - and their mastermind. Who wanted him dead, and why?
But the investigation forces him to reexamine his own life, too - to confront his own notion of himself, his job, and his treatment of the women in his life, as well as his own complex feelings about the country that crafted his would-be killers.
Part thriller and part erotic romance, full of dark humor and knife-edged suspense, The Story of My Assassins is a piercing literary novel that takes us from the lavish, hedonistic palaces of India's elite to its seediest slums. It is a novel of corruption, passion, power, and ambition; of extreme poverty and obscene wealth.
It is an awesome adventure into the heart of today's India.
The Story of My Assassins
Kaaliya was a dodger and a scrapper, to the task born. Like the snakes his forefathers had mastered for generations, he could wriggle and he could strike. His first conscious memory, from the time he was three, was the feel of a rat snake slithering through his hands. For the toddler, shaking a serpent by its head was like waving a rattle. It was the way of his people, to let the harmless ones flow through their huts and tents, their clothes and bedding, their pots and pans, their sons and daughters. In winter, many of their folk slept with their snakes in their patchwork quilts, their fat fullness as reassuring as a mother's touch. The more lethal ones were kept apart, in a corner, in wicker baskets, lightly weighted down.
Before he learnt to walk, Kaaliya knew that in these baskets slept the reigning deity of their livesthe flared black one whose mesmeric swaying sustained his people and their wanderings. The world was full of serpents,...
In [Tarjun J. Tejpal's] latest novel, The Story of My Assassins – a hardboiled account of life on the fringes – he draws on his journalistic background to create a fictional panorama that questions perceptions of victimhood. But this is not a thriller with easy resolutions and clear culprits. Instead, Tejpal creates a naturalistic portrait of a society plagued by abuses of power, poverty and village tensions.
(Reviewed by Karen Rigby).
Full Review (962 words).
India's national capital territory of Delhi, which includes the capital city of New Delhi, is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. It has over sixteen million people working in information technology, telecommunications, hotels, banking, media, and tourism, among other fields. It boasts globally renowned universities and medical centers, world heritage sites, fabulously wealthy people, and the world's second largest exhibition of books held biannually. At the same time, many of its residents live in slums without water, electricity, or sanitation. One of the most dangerous cities in India, Delhi has high crime rates including serious crimes such as kidnapping and crimes against women.
Delhi is a northern Indian city, with...
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