Swimmer Among the Stars

Swimmer Among the Stars

3.77 (888 ratings by Goodreads)
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'I greatly admired the imaginative range and adventurousness of Kanishk Tharoor's stories in Swimmer Among the Stars' Pankaj Mishra, Guardian 'Best Books of 2017'

'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

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.

The stories in Swimmer Among the Stars reveal an extraordinary young storyteller in Kanishk Tharoor, 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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 142 x 223 x 22mm | 371g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main Market Ed
  • 1509822216
  • 9781509822218
  • 254,261

Review quote

Part of the fun is following the turns of Tharoor's imagination and the rich, sparkling language he uses. * Emerald Street * It's the details within the details that get me - there's just this beautiful telescoping the writing does between a kind of ruthless precision and something just as close up but more tender, like counting fingers and toes . . . -- Helen Oyeyemi What is more important to identity: how we see ourselves, or how others see us? Our abilities, or the role we play in society? Answers to these questions shift within this dazzling first book of short stories by New York-based writer Kanishk Tharoor, who cherry picks from Indian history and culture to imbue his prose with a quiet confidence . . . Each story expertly explores a tantalisingly different worldview, resulting in a spellbinding collection. * Scotsman * 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 * Each story expertly explores a tantalisingly different worldview - resulting in a near-perfect collection. * Manchester Evening News * 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 of these stories . . . reflects . . . a rare combination of surreal imagination matched with an extraordinary craft of a master storyteller. * The Statesman (India) * 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 * 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 * 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) * [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 * 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 * I greatly admired the imaginative range and adventurousness of Kanishk Tharoor's stories in Swimmer Among the Stars. -- Pankaj Mishra A wonderful collection: as sharp and multi-faceted, polished, light-filled and ancient as a string of diamonds. -- Kate Clanchy [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 * 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] dazzling first book of short stories . . . A near pitch-perfect collection. * i * 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 * 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
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About Kanishk Tharoor

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.
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Rating details

888 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 24% (215)
4 39% (350)
3 27% (241)
2 8% (68)
1 2% (14)
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