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The Book of Chocolate Saints Hardcover 31 Oct 2017 (36% off)

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The Book of Chocolate Saints Hardcover – 31 Oct 2017

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In incandescent prose, award-winning novelist Jeet Thayil tells the story of Newton Francis Xavier, blocked poet, serial seducer of young women, reformed alcoholic (but only just), philosopher, recluse, all-round wild man and India’s greatest living painter. At the age of sixty-six, Xavier, who has been living in New York, is getting ready to return to the land of his birth to stage one final show of his work (accompanied by a mad bacchanal).

As we accompany Xavier and his partner and muse ‘Goody’ on their unsteady and frequently sidetracked journey from New York to New Delhi, the venue of the final show, we meet a host of memorable characters

—the Bombay poets of the seventies and eighties, ‘poets who sprouted from the soil like weeds or mushrooms or carnivorous new flowers, who arrived like meteors, burned bright for a season or two and vanished without a trace’, journalists, conmen, murderers, alcoholics, addicts, artists, whores, society ladies, thugs

—and are also given unforgettable (and sometimes unbearable) insights into love, madness, poetry, sex, painting, saints, death, God and the savagery that fuels all great art.

Narrated in a huge variety of voices and styles, all of which blend seamlessly into a novel of remarkable accomplishment, The Book of Chocolate Saints is the sort of literary masterpiece that only comes along once in a very long time.

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• “A brilliant first novel . . . Nothing like this exists in Indian literature.” —The Sunday Guardian (London)

• “In ambition, Narcopolis is reminiscent of Roberto Bolano; but it is Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son—the best junkie book of the last quarter century—that is its closer kin. Thankfully, Thayil creates something original and vital from those blueprints. One yearns for the next hit.”—The Telegraph (U.K.)

• “A reformed addict, Mr. Thayil has had personal experience with the world he describes. But he is also a published poet, who wields his words with care. His efforts are there to be seen.”—The Economist

• “Thayil’s precision and economy distill what could be a sprawling and uneven saga into an elegant tapestry of beautifully observed characters and their complex lives.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

• ‘Like a beautiful nightmare, this novel is not easy to forget.’—Independent on Sunday

• ‘Jeet Thayil’s Bombay is a city dreaming troubled dreams, and Narcopolis will change the way you imagine it.’—Hari Kunzru

• ‘Completely fascinating and told with a feverish and furious necessity.’—Alan Warner

• ‘This is a compelling, often exhilarating debut. Thayil deftly weaves the various narrative threads, and his overheated, hypertrophied prose invites comparison with the greatest of all narco-novels: William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch.’—Financial Times

• ‘At its best beautifully written, inventive and clear-eyed, Narcopolis deserves to be read and acclaimed.’—Times Literary Supplement

• ‘An evocative portrait … Thayil’s depiction of the addicts’ slow disintegration until they become ‘damaged strangers’ and ‘inanimate objects’, even to themselves, is devastating’—New Statesman

• ‘Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil plumbs the world of substance addiction with a feverish imaginative power. Written with a poet’s eye for economy, its generous and unflinching vision drifts between dream, nightmare, and the sprawling real world of Mumbai that the characters struggle to inhabit.

This journey is also a narrative of language and ideas, but what makes Narcopolis a truly great book is its compassion and hard-earned wisdom.’—Krys Lee, Financial Times Books of the Year

• ‘At its best beautifully written, inventive and clear-eyed, Narcopolis deserves to be read and acclaimed.’—Times Literary Supplement

• ‘Captures the Bombay underworld of the 1970s in all its intoxicating, poetic squalor.’ —Observer

Jeet Thayil was born in Mamalasserie, Kerala, in 1959 and educated in Jesuit schools in Bombay, Hong Kong and New York. He worked as a journalist for twenty-three years before writing his first novel.

His five poetry collections include Collected Poems, English and These Errors Are Correct, which won the 2013 Sahitya Akademi Award. He is the editor of The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets.

Jeet Thayil’s novel Narcopolis won the 2012 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and was shortlisted for five other prizes, including the Man Booker Prize, the Man Asian Literature Prize and the Commonwealth Prize.

The Book of Chocolate Saints Hardcover – 31 Oct 2017


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