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Swimmer Among the Stars Stories Hardcover – 18 Jan 2016
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“Stylistically assured, keenly imagined, and written with a poetic receptivity, Kanishk Tharoor’s short fictions Swimmer Among the Stars accomplish what so little of modern fiction does today: put beauty and wonder into storytelling.” — Musharraf Ali Farooqi, Scroll.in
“An exemplary debut.” “Tharoor spins a weave that is for all time, yet peculiarly, achingly of the present.” “This is a talent whose time has come.” — Sumana Mukherjee, Livemint
“Swimmer Among the Stars is a mesmeric introduction to a writer who must neither be judged by his second name nor age. It is the work of a storyteller who stands lucid on the cusp of reinventing storytelling. The year 2016 couldn’t open on a more subtle alchemy for Indian literary fiction.” — Jairaj Singh, India Today
“The dozen-odd stories in Swimmer Among The Stars are beautifully pitched, infused with an awareness of history (and history’s accidents) that go confidently beyond boundaries of nationhood and period.” — Nilanjana Roy, Business Standard
“Kanishk Tharoor’s debut book Swimmer among the Stars: Stories is a magnificent collection of short fiction. It transports one into a different world, especially with its minute details, achieving the near-impossible with words.” — Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, The Hindu
“The young writer Kanishk Tharoor meets the challenge brilliantly in his Swimmer Among the Stars, a collection of 12 stories that reveal a voice that is sensitive, gentle and layered.” “This one is a promising debut.” — Shalini Singh, The Week
“Each of these stories in Swimmer among the Stars reflect … a rare combination of surreal imagination matched with an extraordinary craft of a master storyteller.” — Saket Suman, The Statesman
“Delightfully versatile and juxtaposes an archaic, fabular charm with contemporary resonance” “An anthology that modern Indian writing in English can be proud of” — Daily Pioneer
“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.” — The New Indian Express
“In these wonderfully-crafted stories, Tharoor marries the magical with the real…” — Mail Today
An Amazon Rising Star of Summer 2016: Kanishk Tharoor’s first collection of short stories is gentle in voice, majestic in imagination and assured in craft. These aren’t stories that you read, enjoy and cast aside. Rather, these are the tales you’d ferret away and recount, whether to a friend on a car journey, a child declining to go to bed or to yourself on a muddle of a day. After all, as the epics illustrate, what is the worth of a story unless it passes from person to person, voice to voice, from this time to another?
At a time when the memoir and confession have become de rigueur, when the milieu of writers determine their audience, Tharoor’s erasure of the self from the narrative is a welcome break and hopefully a beacon for others to follow.- Nandini Nair, Open MagazineSee all Product description
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Overall, I expected a little more clarity from the stories. The collection is, however, worth a read - take it with you on a seaside holiday, to a river-view cottage, to a mountain tent.
Kanishk Tharoor’s “Swimmer among the Stars” has been one of the most satisfying reads for me this year. His debut short-story collection was nothing like what I had read before and maybe that’s why it opened new vistas for me, new dreams were dreamed and though some stories did disappoint (not too much though), I could let that slide by because the entire collection is just worth every word.
Table Tennis is played in zero gravity in a post-apocalyptic tale. In another, a team of anthropologists’ trek to a remote village to meet a woman who is her language’s last surviving speaker – to also record her for the sake of posterity. A story of an elephant’s fascinating journey is the crux of another story. Of course, I cannot forget the story of the seven days of a town that is about to be razed by an invading army. The people’s thoughts, their stories, their loves and disappointments are so stark that I enjoyed every bit of it.
Thirteen stories form this book – give it the varied voices that it deserves and must be lauded for. Reading this book reminded me sometimes of Calvino’s writing (magic realism and how), Borges’s vision, Arabian Nights’ span, Angela Carter’s grandeur and Murakami’s restraint. It is all there in this cracker of a read.
Kanishk’s writing doesn’t seem forced at all. Not one word seems out of place or something that could have been given a miss. The book is detailed (which I never have a problem with) way too much and that only works to the advantage of what Tharoor wants to communicate through his stories. The fable-like quality of the stories adds much-needed charm and dreamlike essence. All said and done, I will for sure be waiting for his next book.
'Elephant at Sea' an amazing story by Kanishk Tharoor, is the journey of an elephant - a gift for the princess of Morocco - from Kozhikode, Kerala to Rabat in Morocco. As the story advances, it transforms into a journey through the psyche of the elephant. It deals with the bigger issue, of relocation of the animal, from its natural habitat and its country; of loneliness, its love for water and the dream of lowering itself into mud at the end of the day. Nevertheless the animal adapts to its new environment, without protest. The consciousness of the loss of individuality does not daunt the elephant, which surrenders readily and ambitiously to a new lifestyle and a new identity.
The love of water translates into a bigger dream - the mahout's dream. The elephant on seeing its reflection in the pond yearns for the sea. Towards the end of the story, the mahout whispers to the elephant, to stop dreaming of home or of him' 'dream of the sea, my life, dream of the sea'. When the mahout disappears, the reader is forced to speculate whether the 'dream of the sea' is truly the dream of the 'Keralite'; the dream to seek new countries across the seas, to escape from the potholed roads, the clanging traffic and the multitudes of people who inhabit the small southern state of Kerala.
It is the story of communication techniques employed by mahouts in Kerala, to command the elephant and of the willingness to be commanded as revealed by the temperament of the elephant ' 'Elephants respond to confidence, to certainty'they understand that the order of the universe dictates to them a certain place, a certain rank, a certain dependence on the demands of others'. The mahout, who by profession, is raised to teach implicit obedience and ride elephants, knows that 'command' is in his blood; to 'follow' and be 'followed', which incidentally is also the tacit decree of contemporary social media.
The elephant barely escapes an attempt by the cleric'mayor, who considers it a prerequisite, to detect its religious affiliations, which would ultimately overhaul everything else and define its whole life.
This remarkable story of an elephant's journey from Kozhikode to Morocco, spans countries and continents and keeps one spellbound till the end.
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