Swimmer Among the Stars
An interview with the last speaker of a language. A chronicle of the final seven days of a town that is about to be razed to the ground by an invading army. The lonely voyage of an elephant from Kerala to a princess's palace in Morocco. A fabled cook who flavours his food with precious stones. A coterie of international diplomats trapped in near-Earth orbit. These, and the other stories in this collection, reveal an extraordinary young storyteller, whose tales emerge from a tradition that includes the creators of the Arabian Nights, Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, Angela Carter and other ancient and modern masters of the fable.
Furiously inventive, beautifully crafted and remarkably assured, Swimmer Among the Stars announces the arrival of a blazing Indian talent.
Haunting and mysteriously powerful . . . Swimmer Among the Stars announces the arrival of a writer who is gifted not just with extraordinary talent but also with a subtle, original and probing mind. -- Amitav Ghosh Hypnotic . . . Tharoor's prose is calm and unassertive . . . His writing has the clarity and imaginative expansiveness of fable . . . Tharoor's work has something in common with the fantastical world-building of writers such as Jorge Luis Borges, but there is also a distinct fairy-tale quality, connecting him to a much older storytelling tradition. * Sunday Times * [A] dazzling first book of short stories . . . A near pitch-perfect collection. * i * Kanishk Tharoor's debut has an impressively wide scope. Its 13 stories skip through countries, continents, and centuries in past and future . . . Highly playful and imaginative. * Financial Times * [A] remarkably crafted and imaginative debut collection of stories that span space and time . . . Tharoor is sensitive to inequality and acts of exploitation, both deliberate and unintentional . . . The experience of reading this collection is like watching a contemplative, concerned - yet playful - observer leafing through its volumes. * New York Times * A wonderful collection: as sharp and multi-faceted, polished, light-filled and ancient as a string of diamonds. -- Kate Clanchy A sparkling, magical, heartbreaking meditation on the way tradition clashes with technology, and the way our reality is both defined and restricted by the language we use to represent it . . . It's a testament to the author's empathy, rich voice, and immaculate craftsmanship that the book succeeds . . . even as it comforts, illuminates, and unnerves. * National Public Radio * [Tharoor's] debut work of fiction is a truly global collection: he skips as easily between continents as if he were jumping rope . . . His prose can be elegant, ironic, deadpan. Just as often, it is sweetly melancholic . . . Tharoor is clearly a monumental talent, and his debut is a pleasure, from the first page to the last. * Kirkus (starred review) * A refreshingly profound and gifted 31-year-old writer . . . Swimmer Among the Stars is a mesmeric introduction to a writer . . . the work of a storyteller who stands lucid on the cusp of reinventing storytelling. * India Today * So brilliantly bold and enchanting . . . Tharoor impresses with a perfect lightness of touch . . . Jorge Luis Borges claimed that every writer creates his own precursors. Tharoor creates Borges as one of his. Swimmer Among the Stars is a Borgesian patchwork of fact and fantasy, a remapping of ancient cultures and civilisations, a playful foray into parallel dimensions. If Tharoor can achieve all this in miniature, then roll on his first novel. * The National (Abu Dhabi) * An exemplary debut . . . Working with the vast riches of fables, epics, mythologies, folk tales, histories . . . Tharoor spins a weave that is for all time, yet peculiarly, achingly of the present . . . This is a talent whose time has come. * Mint * A magnificent collection of short fiction. It transports one into a different world, especially with its minute details, achieving the near-impossible with words. * The Hindu * Each of these stories . . . reflects . . . a rare combination of surreal imagination matched with an extraordinary craft of a master storyteller. * The Statesman (India) * Tharoor's prose is rich, imaginative and free of needless complexities; it is the plots of the stories that stand out with their edgy unpredictability . . . A fascinating read, Swimmer Among the Stars promises great things to come from its young author. * New Indian Express * Each story expertly explores a tantalisingly different worldview - resulting in a near-perfect collection. * Manchester Evening News * Kanishk Tharoor's mind is an overflowing library from which he pulls Persian folklore Egyptian history, Anglo-Saxon poetry and 20th-century politics. He prods the world with his great stick of irony and vast imagination . . . Wherever he goes and in whatever era, Mr Tharoor is original, unselfconscious and relevant. * Country Life *
Kanishk Tharoor is an Indian writer based in New York City. His journalism, criticism, and short stories have appeared in international and Indian publications; his story 'Tale of the Teahouse' was shortlisted for a US National Magazine Award. He studied at Yale, Columbia, and at New York University.