Read "Narcopolis A Novel" by Jeet Thayil with Rakuten Kobo. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize Written in poetic and affecting prose, Jeet Thayil's luminous. Editorial Reviews. Review. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize A Flavorwire Best Book of $ Read with Our Free App; Audiobook. $ Free with your Audible trial · Hardcover $ 6 Used from $ 4 New from $ 1 Collectible from. spatial reading of jeet thayil's narcopolis narcopolis download narcopolis having many collected poems Ï pdf download ebook free jeet.
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Then there are the addicts, the hunger addicts and rage addicts and poverty addicts and power addicts, and the pure addicts who are addicted not to substances but to the oblivion and tenderness that substances engender.
She explains addiction in a different way: It isn't the heroin that we're addicted to, it's the drama of the life, the chaos of it, that's the real addiction and we never get over it; and because, when you come down to it, the high life, that is, the intoxicated life, is the best of the limited options we are offered - why would we choose anything else? There are moments throughout the novel where violence traps the characters inside, although they don't really seem to mind.
A few other tidbits I liked: This is a taxi driver who has been taking an opera singer around town. I think it gives a good example of the tone and the writing: That's when she tells me to open the sunroof and she starts to sing, and all of the sudden I got it, you know? The function of opera, I understood that it was the true expression of grief.
I understood why she needed to stand and turn her face up as if she was expressing her sadness to god, who was the author of it. And for a moment I understood what it was to be god, to take someone's life and ash it like a beedi. I thought of her life, her useful life, and I wanted to take it from her for no reason at all. It looks like he is otherwise known as a poet. View all 10 comments. Oct 28, Shanmugam rated it it was ok. Narcotic Nonsense When Mr.
Thayil started working on this debut novel, he was around fifty years old, had released four collections of poetry, two decades of addiction under his belt. So, it has all the intellectual questions he had or heard and almost all the things he came across in Bombay. More than a novel, it is a handful of short stories and a few essays of Mumbai's dark alleys. To give credit where it is due, whenever the narration is in descriptive nature, whether it is Shuklaji Street, Op Narcotic Nonsense When Mr.
It is only when his characters start to voice their thoughts, you feel that cardboard cutout, one dimensional creations of a amateur fiction writer, like puppets created with sculpture like perfection, only to echo a puppeteer's monologues.
Excellent in parts, disappointing as a whole! Sep 30, Ali rated it it was ok. The writing is good - in places very good, lovely prose —something I always enjoy — you might expect that at least I suppose in a Booker shortlisted novel, but the subject, the setting and the characters I disliked. An addict, if you don't mind me saying so, is like a saint. What is a saint but someone who has cut himself off, voluntarily, from the world's traffic and currency.
The narrator of the start of the novel, a visitor to the Opium den of Rashid, where he also meets the eunuch prostitute Dimple, he returns at the end of the novel, many years later to see who is left and find out what has happened to the people he knew back then.
The construction of the novel is more like many small stories that weave in and out of each other in a non-linear way. I did find the stories of Mr Lee and Dimple to be the most interesting, and for a while after struggling with the beginning of the book I began to actually enjoy it. However I found it difficult to remain interested in the characters and the construction of the novel made it hard at times to follow. This construction is very clever — this dream like almost hallucinatory quality is beautifully suited to these stories — the narratives seem like the confused and foggy view of an opium addict might look.
I had looked forward to this book — and judging by the reviews of it on good reads and amazon I am something of a lone voice. View 2 comments.
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Aug 22, Vinita rated it it was ok. I was really looking forward to reading Narcopolis. Jeet Thayil was himself an addict for 20 years, and the book is an insider's account of Bombay's drug scene. That Thayil is an excellent writer is apparent in the first few pages.
His style though, is gratingly monotonous. The writing can only hold your attention for so long. Ultimately the plot and the characters need to generate enough interest to make you want to carry on. I finished Narcopolis and realized that I felt nothing about any chara I was really looking forward to reading Narcopolis. I finished Narcopolis and realized that I felt nothing about any character. That, I think, is Narcopolis' biggest failing - after the first 50 or so pages of a few "wow" moments, it simply fails to evoke any emotion.
The characters show a lot of promise in the beginning, but in the absence of a good back story, they fizzle out. You're given just a few tidbits of information about their past.
It's like looking out of a foggy window - you never really see or "get" them. In a nutshell Narcopolis is well written, but not compelling enough.
Alas, a good writer is not always a good storyteller. View all 5 comments. A very strange book indeed.
In fact, I'd say I've never read anything like it before. Jeet Thayil's Booker-nominated novel starts out in Bombay of the s, when the narrator Dom Ullis arrives in the city, having been deported back to India from the States on account of his substance abuse problems. While most of the book follows a linear narration, there is a slight detour to China in Book Two 'Story of the Pipe' when the story of Mr.
The fascinating aspect of 'Narcopolis' is the hallucinatory yet realistic narration. Sounds bit like Inception? It certainly isn't anything remotely similar But the style certainly ensures that the characterisation is top-notch as one gets to delve into the deepest, darkest recesses of the minds of the different characters.
It's not entirely core to the plot, but is engrossing nonetheless. However, where this book doesn't work for me is the disconnect I felt with the characters. This is one book that's gonna grow on you over time. Recommended for fans of literary fiction.
Sep 09, Lisa rated it really liked it Shelves: This tale from the underbelly of s Bombay is about as squalid as it can get. The book begins as he returns to it after an absence, introducing the reader to Dimple, named not because she has one, but after a famous Indian film star. The irony is painful. There is obviously more to know about the porous borders of Asia!
Thayil returns to this character again and again, revealing more about her life each time. These characters are not victims in the usual sense: But the story of how Dimple came to have ambiguous sexuality is not for the faint-hearted.
The way people are used in this novel, as if they have no intrinsic value except for the purposes of their abuser, is a reminder that for the poor in places like this, the choice they have is to accept how things are. Dimple watches a film and wonders at the way rich people can be unhappy about such trivial things … To read the rest of my review please visit http: View all 4 comments.
Apr 05, Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed rated it did not like it. This was a major disappointment. It started off strong; the opening tells you how competent the author is as a writer.
Where the book fails, is in making you care about any of the characters, beyond a slight sympathy for Dimple. We are taken in a no-holds-barred tour of the drug addict's life in Bombay, a This was a major disappointment. We are taken in a no-holds-barred tour of the drug addict's life in Bombay, and it soon becomes a journey I regretted taking.
I barely finished the book, and could not bear to read another description of violation of one sort or another. At the end of the book, the owner of the khana, or drug-den, Rashid, scolds the narrator for wanting to keep mementoes of the old days, when the khana was in full swing. This is a worthwhile thing to you? This book seemed like an exploitative guided tour, front row seats. I knew it would take me through those streets, I just expected to find something life-affirming at the end of it.
I'm sure there were better choices for the Man Asian prize, but the judges must have thought that this book was "Important" because it delved into the dark depths of humanity.
I want to read the other shortlisted books now, because I strongly suspect they were cheated. Sep 30, Amit Shetty rated it it was ok. More Drugs More Sex This is what the entire book deals with. It is a nostalgic account of a man who lived in the 70's era of Bombay, where drugs, prostitution and corruption ran rampant. Not much different from now, except everything here now occurs under a veil of secrecy. The author has done quite a good job of describing the Bombay of that era. How people were carefree during those days, enjoying the simpler things in life unlike today where time and mo Eunuchs How people were carefree during those days, enjoying the simpler things in life unlike today where time and money mean everything.
He also included the Mumbaiyya slang words which in my opinion combined frequently with English letters make it sort of odd. The book however, does have this ability to transport you to that place and time. This is the sort of book a hippy would enjoy since it basically is describing his carefree "screw the world" lifestyle.
The book does tend to get boring at times despite being just under pages. Towards the end the book, the author has perfectly drawn the comparisons between the old and the new city. I have to give this book a 2. Beware that this book does contain some pretty intense sexual material. For Indian readers, the book is currently priced at Rs. May 05, Sridhar Reddy rated it really liked it Shelves: Three and a half stars.
Jeet Thayil's 'Narcopolis' contains some of the most vividly realized characters I've ever come across in a book. Deeply felt and complex, they each weave in and out of reality and consciousness, bound by an endless stream of narcotics and the den that serves to encapsulate the crushed ambitions of a city full of dreamers. Thayil's prose is both poetic and raw, his wordplay masterful and yet his subject matter abhorrent.
It's a vivid juxtaposition that mirrors the drug ex Three and a half stars. It's a vivid juxtaposition that mirrors the drug experience - lucid in thought and yet surrounded by detritus. Perhaps my greatest criticism of the book is its omission - there is the mention of a murderous, destructive force called the Pathar Maar, a killer of the poor and voiceless. The Pathar is an intriguing figure, perhaps a metaphor for the city itself, and yet Thayil mentions the Pathar in only three sentences in the entire book.
It is an incomplete thought, and to leave the reader hanging with such a powerful image and concept is a little disconcerting. Otherwise a powerful and experiential book. Not for the faint of heart, as Thayil reveals and shows every detail of the lives of junkies, pimps and prostitutes. The depiction is, however gruesome, overall respectful, as Thayil never once portrays his characters as victims.
They are accountable for their decisions, and never are we manipulated to feel pity. Highly recommended. Feb 26, Radiantflux rated it it was amazing Shelves: A haunting, hallucinatory account of Mumbai's opium drug culture in the s.
Written by a ex-addict poet there is a realism here that captures both the beauty and horror of this vanished subculture. One of my favorite books for the year so far. View all 16 comments. Jan 15, Muthulakshmi rated it liked it Recommended to Muthulakshmi by: I almost gave up on the book.
No, wipe off that shit-eating grin; I am not going to say ".. I finished it to prove a point. Okay, fine. That said, the book isn't a complete disaster. The prose is free flowing and all-out brilliant. Which is high praise coming from someone who refuses to read On the road for the exact same reason I'm Kerouac and punctuation is like so arac I almost gave up on the book.
Which is high praise coming from someone who refuses to read On the road for the exact same reason I'm Kerouac and punctuation is like so arachic and I am too beat for that shit. The picture he paints of Bombay in 70's is beautiful as it is vivid. The concept of addiction is excellently handled. But it is a literary fuckfest there on. I understand narration is free flow, but the narrator just disappears for six fucking chapters in between.
I don't even know whose p. The events told happened to characters who knew the characters our narrator barely interacted with. So there is no logical explanation as to why he knows the things he does. Characters are so god-damn one dimensional. And for reasons beyond my comprehension, comments on the Hindu-Muslim situation are strewn about randomly.
Finally, Bombay underbelly and streets? Holy innovative-setting-for-a-story-in-India, batman!! To conclude, I despise trying to make meaning out of random shit, just to sound intelligent and poetic. Really, whatever. Aug 11, Damien D'Enfer rated it it was amazing. After reading some of the reviews below I feel compelled to add my two cents.
This may not be a pretty world Thayil creates, but guess what? Worlds like this exist. I should know. Thayil writes about the desperation, enslavement, degradation, beauty and poetry of the addict's life with mastery.
Bu After reading some of the reviews below I feel compelled to add my two cents. But the thing that makes Narcopolis extraordinary is the compassion he applies to his characters.
Addicts are the ultimate outsiders. They scratch around the perimeters of life, seeking redemption and connection. I'm surprised by the lack of care and imagination in some of the reviews below.
Did Thayil upset some's expectations of 'normal' and 'acceptable'? Since when should artists adhere to those ideas? My advice is, open your hearts and minds and let Thayil show you another side of life. It's not all ugly, trust me. Apr 16, Stephen Durrant rated it liked it. I guess one conclusion we might draw from the first sentence of "Anna Karenina" is that there are many more unhappy stories to be told than happy ones. Fair enough. Despite a rather optimistic outlook, I don't mind slogging through the grim and the sad, as any scan of the list of novels below will surely demonstrate.
But, recent reads are taking unhappiness to a new height--or I guess I should say depth.
Buy for others
Anyway, we now take a step into the drug scene in Mumbai right at the time things were chang I guess one conclusion we might draw from the first sentence of "Anna Karenina" is that there are many more unhappy stories to be told than happy ones. Anyway, we now take a step into the drug scene in Mumbai right at the time things were changing from that good old fashion opium, inhaled in "charming" dens, to new "delights" like cocaine and heroin. And the most interesting character in the novel, Dimple, is a lost but somehow still vibrant eunuch this is modern India, I remind you, not some ancient period.
All this, however, is not without redeeming qualities. Jeet Thayil writes beautifully. Maybe I should cheer up by rereading "Candide," although actually that is a bit of a downer too. Aug 18, Jeva rated it really liked it. At first glance, Narcopolis is a novel about drugs. At second glance, it is a novel about lust. At third, it is a novel about Bombay.
So goes the magic of a great book. His particular enunciation he likely owes to his own poetic background, in which he has authored collections including These Errors Are Correct and English. Although the novel centers on Dimple, who is a eunuch, prostitute, and opium addict, it also addresses a dealer named Rashid; a Chinese opium addict referred to as Mr.
Perhaps this is because Narcopolis does not give its characters any allowances; they are owed their fates and as readers, we are not lead to feel sentiment or pity. This philosophy comes across in two ways: However, if there is one point that Thayil fixates on, it is that of addiction, and as he admits in his NPR interview: And to know those things and to continue to do it is actually an example of free will at its strongest.
At less than three hundred pages, Thayil wastes few words, although some of the asides seem more personal than relevant. With its honesty and masterly-crafted prose, I would be shocked not to see Narcopolis on the Man Booker short list, come this September. One cannot help but mull over the prose well after the book has reached its end.
As a result, Narcopolis is a story of drugs and lust, a story of the pipe, of intoxication, of decay and violence. Penguin, pages. With every book you read, you can always find something that went wrong - something you didn't like. When I read Narcopolis, I couldn't find any wrong.
The book had me hooked from the first paragraph. I remember being tired. I had comeback from a long day at work and I had hardly slept the night before. I was ready to sleep at I read the first page and suddenly, it was 1.
I now feel like I need to consume everything that Jeet Thayil has written. Oct 17, Prakriti rated it it was ok. I feel a bit more kindly towards Narcopolis very little after finishing it, in the sense that perhaps I now understand what he was trying to do, also comprehension has dawned as to why the hullaboo off shores about this book.
Like the amazing Chinaman last year, which mimics the stages of a cricket test match, even the way in which the writing guides the reader into a certain mind state through the book. One gets it, this is what Jeet Thayil is out to do, this is one long pull off an opium pip I feel a bit more kindly towards Narcopolis very little after finishing it, in the sense that perhaps I now understand what he was trying to do, also comprehension has dawned as to why the hullaboo off shores about this book.
One gets it, this is what Jeet Thayil is out to do, this is one long pull off an opium pipe - that is how one gets guided into the book, a prologue of one sentence. A seven page long sentence. And that is the best piece of writing in the book. In that, it sets up everything, your possible reactions, how you should read it slow, repeated puffs.
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And that is how the book is constructed. If you took a good, long puff at the prologue, you would be well into the narrative if you can call it that before you realize that this isn't a very good trip after-all.
That is why the continued bewilderment of where the narrative is going, continued chapters - pages after pages of disembodied dreams, disconnected from everything, just a vague bloody fog page after page. What the fuck is happening? What am I reading about?
Didn't I just lay down in a khana in Shuklaji Street with an Opium pipe? Why am I reading about this Chinese man? Where the fuck did he come from? And it irritated me. The fact that that is not a random occurence. That the author knows the lay mind's connection between opium and china.
So just like that, that is a major character. Whether you like it or not. You have just taken a puff of opium and you don't like what is happening to you.
You are not supposed to. You don't like these dreams, and these vague shapes, and this dirtiness, and there's a whore, and she's a hijra, and oh fuck the shame, here take a puff, this is so literary and raw. Excerpt begins from Chapter 4: Lee's Lessons in Living [Lee dreams] Then he heard drums, jungle drums, and he thought of witch doctors and the image of the great junk faded to violet mist.
He heard the sound of surf and he heard someone speaking or cursing in Hindi. I understand why to the lay and uninitiated foreign reviewer, the below would seem to be the case. Definitely going to be a couple of sessions called that in the next year's Jaipur Literature Festival. These are dirty, ugly characters with nothing to flesh them out from each other.
Random chapters start with a different "I", protagonists move from page to page before you can say uh, hello and one doesn't feel any different in inhabiting a different character from one page to another.
One doesn't really care either. Oh the motherfucker is dreaming again. A character in the book gets one another addicted to a new maal called Chemical.
It is garad dusted heroin, brown that the local dealers mix with rat poison. The strychnine in it is what gives you the real kick. It's the shit, in that the first sampler just dies, boom. For the lack of a better word imagery, that is what this book feels like to me. Very artificial. Very Chemical. Not organic. Not felt. But constructed. That is the feeling I get. Of pretense. Of slimy pretense. For aggrandizing and self profiting.
It is a carefully constructed book, however it doesn't take out my initial and continuing distaste with the writing. It is carefully constructed for a reason, to appeal to a certain populist wildness.
While one might rightfully argue that fiction has a right to be well, Chemical and they would be right. I still do not feel empathetic towards the writing, nothing for the characters, not even disgust, just nothing. Immediately after finishing the book this morning I had a little tenderness in me for the book by then, well constructed that it was , I returned back to the beginning and read the prologue again and skimmed through most of the first half of the book again, now that I knew how the plot went by the end.
Still, nothing. Just a bad trip. And Jeet Thayil knows it is a bad trip, and he wants it to be a bad trip because aren't dirty bad trips set in Bombay literary?
Oh my, here, take another puff. The primary reason I am pissed about Narcopolis is that it takes the name of Bombay in vain. More on my blogpost, http: Jun 30, Chris Craddock rated it it was amazing Shelves: Bombay sounds like quite an astonishing place, as described by author Jeet Thayil in his first novel, Narcopolis. About Narcopolis , Thayil said, "I've always been suspicious of the novel that paints India in soft focus, a place of loved children and loving elders, of monsoons and mangoes and spices.
To equal Bombay as a subject you would have to go much further than the merely nostalgic will allow. The grotesque may be a more accurate means of carrying out such an enterprise.
While he did mention both mangoes and monsoons, there was one word that he never uttered: The novel begins and ends, however, with the old name of that metropolis: Bombay is the Narcopolis of the book's title, and Bombay is the star and subject of the book, its alpha and omega. Jeet's refusal to even mention the word Mumbai shows his allegiance to the ancient name, the ancient metropolis.
I really enjoyed Jeet Thayil's prose. As one reviewer put it: Dom got into trouble while living in New York so he was sent back home only to get into even deeper trouble on Shuklaji Street. He is honest about his shortcomings, and doesn't pretend to care about anything other than drugs.
He is not very likeable, in fact--but probably doesn't care whether you like him or not.