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Guardian Best Books of the Year 2017 / NPR Best Books of the Year 2017 / Hudson Booksellers Top 10 Best Books of 2017 (Fiction)

“Remarkably crafted and imaginative debut collection of stories…”  — The New York Times

“Tharoor is clearly a monumental talent, and his debut is a pleasure, from the first page to the last.” — Kirkus (starred review)

“Sparkling, magical, heartbreaking . . . whimsical and wise . . . graceful, haunting. . . It’s a testament to the author’s empathy, rich voice, and immaculate craftsmanship that [Swimmer Among the Stars] succeeds in being all these things ― even as it comforts, illuminates, and unnerves.” ―Jason Heller, NPR

“Swimmer Among the Stars achieves a hypnotic power … Tharoor’s writing has the clarity and expansiveness of fable.” ―Sunday Times

“Kanishk Tharoor’s debut has an impressively wide scope. Its thirteen stories skip through countries, continents, and centuries in past and future … A highly playful and imaginative collection.” ―Financial Times

“[A] dazzling first book of short stories … A near pitch-perfect collection.” — Independent

“A virtuoso debut collection that is as globalist as it is fabulist.” ―O Magazine

“In a time and place where immigration is a fraught political issue, these freewheeling stories appeal by disregarding conventional boundaries — they zigzag across nations, ethnic identities and linguistic traditions. Most notably, they transcend traditional notions of time.” ―San Francisco Chronicle

“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,

“In sumptuous, thought-provoking detail, the subtleties of human emotion and interaction are carefully explored. Translating food into words, dishes into phrases, Tharoor has the ability to shine the perfect amount of light on the most magical and sensitive of moments, and is unafraid of taking his time to do so. Swimmer Among the Stars dazzles.” — Zyzzyva magazine

“Kanishk Tharoor’s new 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 Magazine

“You can open Swimmer Among the Stars to any page and find a sentence worth quoting, a scenario worth remembering. Though the stories span the Battle of Magnesia, in which Rome defeated the Seleucid Empire, to a dystopian future in which the United Nations has been chased to a near-Earth orbit, Tharoor wears his erudition lightly, privileging poetry over political messaging. Lush, playful, and intoxicated by history, the book stuck with me long after I closed it.” ―David Busis, Electric Literature

“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

“The cumulative effect, for me, was “history” feeling less alien and distant and, at the same time, “the present” feeling more historical: more fundamentally enmeshed in the tectonic, long-term forces that we take center stage in our textbooks, but perhaps less often in contemporary short fiction (or American short fiction, anyway).” — Peter Baker, LitHub

“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

“Tharoor’s collection is glittering in its ingenuity, his prose lyrical and tender, but with a slicing wit. Taken together, the stories in Swimmer Among the Stars seem to be asking: What tales do we tell each other in times of cultural anxiety and impending crisis? How do we communicate in the face of catastrophe?”– Rebecca Bates, Sweet

“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

“I encountered Kanishk Tharoor’s stories at a time when I needed to find meaning in loss and context for what we have at stake in the world today. The stories reminded me of the power of empathy and connection in our shared experience and the need for imagination, even playfulness and humor, in times of adversity. The English writer Philip Pullman said: “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world”; and according to Tim O’Brien, stories save us. While I don’t think we can count on stories alone to save us, stories like these hold a small, glimmering light—they illuminate what we have to lose, perhaps embolden us to claim what is ours, and let our humanity shine.” — Laura Haugen, Ploughsares

“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

“To be championed by such big names at the beginning of his career is remarkable. However, the short stories collected in Swimmer Among the Stars are so brilliantly bold and enchanting that it won’t be long before the main acclaim is from the common reader.”

“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.”– Malcolm Forbes, The National (UAE)

“…At a time when publishers in the West tend to look for novels coming out of places like India that fit thematically within a certain ‘Indian’ frame, this boldness is refreshing. Tharoor claims an imaginative space, a ‘nowhereness’, that is often the purview of mostly (white, male) Western writers. It is this intrepid discarding of labels – ‘Indian writer’, ‘postcolonial’ – that gives the stories license to roam. And roam they do.”– Janice Pariat, Biblio

“Regardless of the era or place they inhabit, Tharoor’s characters are often driven by the universal desire to connect with worlds outside of their own — even at the risk of heartbreak or death.”– Grant Munroe, LA Review of Books

“Tha­roor is drawn to those out of kilter with the world, those who are left behind or who opt out.” “Swimmer Among The Stars is a promising debut, wide-ranging and thoughtful.”– Shougat Dasgupta, Outlook

“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 fiction reveals a lively mind deeply interested in the world, across categories of knowledge. Besides — and this marks him apart — he is keenly aware that every tale worth telling has been told many times before, will be told ever after, and only one of those tellings can be his. There is an old-world humility in this.”– The Indian Express

“With brilliantly portrayed characters such as the mahout, Muzaffar, the miner and the stranded sailors amongst others, this is a compelling debut collection that must not be missed.”– Hindustan Times

“Kanishk Tharoor’s debut short fiction collection Swimmer Among the Stars melts the idea of time and space into a fantastic journey over 12 tales.”– DNA

“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

— Interview on NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon

— Interview on Monocle Weekly

— Interview and illustrated video of readings on Sweet

— Interview in Mother Jones

— Interview in Lit Hub

— Interview in Electric Literature

— Interview in LA Review of Books

— Analysis of “Swimmer Among the Stars” in the Storyological podcast

— Interview in Gulf News

— Interview in the Hindustan Times

— Interview in the Bangalore Mirror

— Interview in Elle India

— Interview in Verve Magazine

— Interview and profile in The Quint

— Interview in Midday

— Coverage of book launch in Kolkata, The Telegraph

— Coverage of book launch in Delhi, The Hindu