“Tharoor is clearly a monumental talent, and his debut is a pleasure, from the first page to the last.” — Kirkus (starred review)
“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
“Like the storytellers of old, as well as the art’s 20th century masters, Kanishk Tharoor brings together times past and our present day in his dazzling fables where the exotic and the mundane, the lost and the hoped for, are woven into images that remind the reader that it is through sharing stories, and maybe stories alone, that civilizations and their subjects come together in surviving whatever tasks history sets for them.” —Sjón
“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
“These stories gleam with the light of an authentic and wholly original imagination, beautifully crafted and in possession of an untamed, almost feral sense of creativity. With Borgesian intelligence and great tenderness of heart, Tharoor reminds us how vital it is to tell stories, and how urgently we need to consume them.” —Alexandra Kleeman
“It’s been years since I’ve encountered a collection as beguiling as Swimmer Among the Stars. Kanishk Tharoor seems to have sprung onto the scene fully formed, possessed of his own mischievous and erudite voice, already at the full height of his powers. Literary debuts are often described as ‘promising’; here are stories that read like promises fulfilled.” —John Wray
In one of the singularly imaginative stories from Kanishk Tharoor’s Swimmer Among the Stars, despondent diplomats entertain themselves by playing table tennis in zero gravity—for after rising seas destroy Manhattan, the United Nations moves to an orbiting space hotel. In other tales, a team of anthropologists treks to a remote village to record a language’s last surviving speaker intoning her native tongue; an elephant and his driver cross the ocean to meet the whims of a Moroccan princess; and Genghis Khan’s marauding army steadily approaches an unnamed city’s walls.
With exuberant originality and startling vision, Tharoor cuts against the grain of literary convention, drawing equally from ancient history and current events. His world-spanning stories speak to contemporary challenges of environmental collapse and cultural appropriation, but also to the workings of legend and their timeless human truths. Whether refashioning the romances of Alexander the Great or confronting the plight of today’s refugees, Tharoor writes with distinctive insight and remarkable assurance. Swimmer Among the Stars announces the arrival of a vital, enchanting talent.
Indian edition from Aleph Book Company:
North America edition from Farrar, Straus and Giroux:
UK & Commonwealth edition from Picador: