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The Story of My Assassins

A Novel

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, in short, an awesome adventure into the heart of today’s India.

TARUN J. TEJPAL is a journalist, publisher, novelist, and founder of India’s leading news magazine, Tehelka. He has been named one of India’s most influential people by The Guardian, Businessweek and Asiaweek. A celebrated literary novelist as well as a journalist, his fiction has been awarded France’s Prix Mille Pages and was a finalist for the Man Asian Literary Prize. His debut novel, The Alchemy of Desire, was hailed by V.S. Naipaul as “a new and brilliantly original novel from India.” Tejpal lives in New Delhi.

”Clever and inventive … In the profoundest way, Tarun Tejpal writes for India.” —V. S. Naipaul

“[A] complex, dark, exhilarating novel … Tejpal avoids cliches to render the tragedy, comedy, colour and violence of modern India better than anything else I have read in my three years as correspondent here.” — The Guardian

“Tejpal writes with splendid élan: His novel is a stylish, erudite potboiler that reads like a mix of Alexandre Dumas and India’s ancient national epic, the Mahabharata … exhilarating.” — Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“Overlooked in the general rush to adore The White Tiger and Slumdog Millionaire. . . . with a much richer understanding of the politics of poverty, The Story of My Assassins deserves wider attention.” —Hari Kunzru, author of Gods Without Men, in The Guardian’s ‘Books of the Year’

“One of the most attractive Indian writers in English of his generation.” — The TLS

“Intrepidly conceived and ingeniously executed, The Story of My Assassins casts an intimate, often humorous, but always unflinching, eye at the squalor of modernizing India. Combining a fierce political imagination with a tender solicitude for the losers of history, it sets a new and formidably high standard in Indian writing in English.” —Pankaj Mishra, author and critic

“Tarun J. Tejpal is brilliant. A master storyteller, he writes with graphic detail so stunning in spots as to make the reader pause for breath.” —New York Journal of Books

“Tejpal’s masterful newest … is an epic tale of modern-day India.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A gripping exploration of the country’s underworld … leaves us mulling over the gnarled and vibrant tapestry of modern-day India.” —Mother Jones

“The Story of My Assassins is a dark, brutal, and yet often funny narration by a journalist of an attempt on his life…The result is a meditation, a commentary, on the convoluted venality of modern India.” —The Daily Beast

“A devastating tale about political power and its malignity…a lesson in geography that takes in its sweep huge swathes of the underbelly of India…its not a pretty India story…with his ferocious new book..with his compelling writing Tejpal ensures, hopefully, that Indian exotica will never sell.” Financial Express

“This book is a must-read…extraordinary for its portrayal of modern society…shatters any illusions we may harbour of being tolerant and just…weaves an extremely powerful plot and tells it skillfully.” BusinessWorld

“A complex page-turning plot…a commentary on power, sex, corruption and poverty.” Verve

“Make way Messrs Vikas Swaroop and Aravinda Adiga for the definitive story of the Indian underbelly!.” Indian Express

“This is a book of multiple roads to brutality, of multiple explanations for the central event. Policemen, crooks, village elders, journalists, venture capitalists, businessmen, lawyers, street children, whores – no one escapes Tejpal’s sharp pen which he sometimes uses like a caricaturist, at other times like a poet…The generation of Vikram Seth, Rushdie, Amitava Ghosh, Rohinton Mistry, Arundhati Roy is still writing and at the top of its form. But the literary equivalent of the cricketing question, “Who after the Fab Four?” continues to be asked…by taking on a big theme and finding in it a commentary on India – neither dark nor shining, but merely a world that is what it is – Tejpal has staked a claim to being taken more seriously than most others.” Mail Today

“A story masterly told…The Story of My Assassins is an argument with power…Tejpal is not picnicking in the proverbial Other India…He rewrites the idea of victimhood in an India where the subterranean deceptions of power know no bounds.” India Today

“An instant classic . . . far, far better than anything I’ve ever read by an Indian author.” —Altaf Tyrewala, novelist

“Few English novels from India are as finely textured and true-to-life as Assassins. . .” —Manjushree Thapa, author and critic

“For the awesome story it tells, and the stunning impact of its prose this, quite simply, the best Indian novel in English I have ever read” — Nayantara Sahgal, novelist, historian, critic

“Without doubt the best Indian book written in English. Driven in turn by stunning prose and a deep empathy with struggling India, this novel makes Aravinda Adiga’s Booker winning novel look dipped in treacle. This magnificent tome will be the India testament for many many years.” — Binoo John, author and critic

“Aims to break from the old ways of thinking about India in the hope of portraying its society in all its vastness, complexities and contradictions.” — New Statesman

The Story of My Assassins, as ethical as it is entertaining, reminds us how humane, how necessary, realist fiction can be.” —Japan Times

The Story of My Assassins is a quality read and the conclusion is both unexpected and emotionally satisfying.” —New internationalist

“Set aside some time for reading Tarun J. Tejpal’s The Story of My Assassins, … You will read about an India in great flux, in great turmoil, but also one of extraordinary humanity.” —Counterpunch

“Takes us into the unexplored depths of Indian life … brilliantly evoked.” —The Independent

“These days it seems almost impossible to be an Indian novelist without simultaneously aspiring to be the Indian novelist and, with this book, Tejpal lays serious claim to the title.” —The Literary Review

”Mystery, mayhem and fast-paced humor set against India’s sprawling slouch towards modernization.” —The Denver Post

“Rich, empathetic … it’s the most satisfyingly dense, Dickensian read for me this year.” —Seattle Weekly

“The novel consistently grasps the reader’s attention, and even touches on greatness.” —The Financial Times

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