SWIMMER AMONG THE STARS

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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. These, and the other stories in this collection, reveal an extraordinary storyteller, whose tales emerge from a tradition that includes the creators of the Arabian Nights and the Kathasaritsagara, Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, Angela Carter and other ancient and modern masters of fabulist, surrealist and magical short stories. Furiously inventive, beautifully crafted and remarkably assured, Swimmer Among the Stars announces the arrival of a blazing new talent.

Swimmer Among the Stars: Stories, my debut collection of short stories, will be officially published on 27 January by Aleph in the Indian subcontinent.

Some advance praise includes a very generous review in India Today. “Swimmer Among the Stars is a mesmeric introduction to a writer who must be neither 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.” (Full text here)

Nilanjana Roy writes that the 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”. She calls the book “one of the most interesting debuts by an Indian writer in 2016.” (Full text here)

Amitav Ghosh says of the book: “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.” “What caught my interest is the manner in which Tharoor breaks with the fictional conventions of this era. It is as though he were conjuring up possibilities that are better suited for times to come.” (Full text here)

Swimmer Among the Stars: Stories available on Amazon.in here

Swimmer Among the Stars: Stories profile on Aleph Book Company website

The collection will be published in North America by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and in the UK & Commonwealth by Picador UK in 2017. A French translation is also forthcoming from Editions le Seuil. 

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PRESS FOR SWIMMER AMONG THE STARS

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“In these wonderfully-crafted stories, Tharoor marries the magical with the real…”

— Mail Today, 7 Feb, 2016

“Dressed in a blazer in the unforgiving heat, he discusses his much-lauded debut work of fiction – Swimmer Among the Stars – with an endearing, enduring patience and profundity. It is a stunning piece of work; a collection of short stories that has opened to universal praise.” – Interview in the Bangalore Mirror

“From tracing an elephant’s journey across Morocco to imagining the epilogue to climate change, Tharoor traverses time and space in these brightly original stories. And he’s found fast approval; in an early review of the book, Amitav Ghosh calls Tharoor an extraordinary talent with “a probing mind”.” — Interview in the Hindustan Times

— 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