Two weeks ago, I had not heard about Tabish Khair. His book was recommended to me by a friend who is fanatical about reading fiction by Indian authors, good or bad. Knowing that I am rather choosy, he rarely recommends such books to me, but he was so sure that I would like this one that he took the gamble and did.
I am glad that he did.
The Guardian review starts with “What are the odds that the title of Tabish Khair’s novel was suggested by his publisher, keen to inject a frisson of riskiness into a rather quiet, oblique book? Fairly high, at a guess.”
That fairly sums up the book. There is simply no terror, nor much of what the missionary position would imply, but the story is narrated in such a way that the stereotyped Muslim comes alive only to sock the reader with a powerful punch to the solar plexus in the end.
Three South Asians feature in the story and the character portrayal of each is so realistic that I could slot each to persons I know. That is the most redeeming part of the story.
I intend reading Tabish Khair’s other books as well.