LiveZilla Live Chat Software
Register/Login Login Contact UsContacts BlogBlog
Cart Items : 0 | Cart Total : R0
Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical > 159420330X
  1. Narcopolis: A Novel
    Narcopolis: A Novel
    Narcopolis: A Novel
    Image(s) provided for illustrative purposes and may differ from the actual product
  2. Narcopolis: A Novel

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (77 reviews)
    Price R170.00

Additional Information

Shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize

Jeet Thayil’s luminous debut novel completely subverts and challenges the literary traditions for which the Indian novel is celebrated. This is a book about drugs, sex, death, perversion, addiction, love, and god, and has more in common in its subject matter with the work of William S. Burroughs or Baudelaire than with the subcontinent’s familiar literary lights. Above all, it is a fantastical portrait of a beautiful and damned generation in a nation about to sell its soul. Written in Thayil’s poetic and affecting prose, Narcopolis charts the evolution of a great and broken metropolis.

Narcopolis opens in Bombay in the late 1970s, as its narrator first arrives from New York to find himself entranced with the city’s underworld, in particular an opium den and attached brothel. A cast of unforgettably degenerate and magnetic characters works and patronizes the venue, including Dimple, the eunuch who makes pipes in the den; Rumi, the salaryman and husband whose addiction is violence; Newton Xavier, the celebrated painter who both rejects and craves adulation; Mr. Lee, the Chinese refugee and businessman; and a cast of poets, prostitutes, pimps, and gangsters.

Decades pass to reveal a changing Bombay, where opium has given way to heroin from Pakistan and the city’s underbelly has become ever rawer. Those in their circle still use sex for their primary release and recreation, but the violence of the city on the nod and its purveyors have moved from the fringes to the center of their lives. Yet Dimple, despite the bleakness of her surroundings, continues to search for beauty—at the movies, in pulp magazines, at church, and in a new burka-wearing identity.

After a long absence, the narrator returns in 2004 to find a very different Bombay. Those he knew are almost all gone, but the passion he feels for them and for the city is revealed.

Similar Products

The White Tiger: A NovelAmericanah (Ala Notable Books for Adults)Open City: A NovelSleeping On JupiterThe Lives of Others

Jeet Thayil
First Edition
Penguin Press
Penguin Press
Penguin Press
Penguin Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

To be frank, Narcopolis is a complicated and difficult to read novel. The characters are complex, sentences go on for multiple pages, the narrative keeps shifting from one character to another and from one time period to another. Everyone may not like or enjoy it. There were portions of the novel where I lost track of what is happening and had to re-read some pages to understand it fully. However, once you get to know the characters well and get into the flow, the book is an absolute delight. It exposes the filthy and smelly underbelly of Bombay with a brutality that has never been attempted before.

Set in the infamous opium dens of Shuklaji Street in Bombay, it is a story of addiction with the city of Bombay as the protagonist Supporting characters include Dom - the foreign returned junkie, Rashid - addict and owner of an opium den, Dimple/Zeenat - addict, eunuch prostitute who works at Rashid's, Bengali - addict and employee at Rashid's who has an opinion on everything... Read more
by Jeet Thayil

Narcopolis joins the array of novels bold to real the life below the surface of the beautiful thriving old city, Bombay. It deals with drugs and addiction, sex and love, violence and perversion, god and death. Not the type of raw book I would chose to read ten years ago. I have grown up.

A varied cast populates the unfurling opium smoke - a murderer, businessmen, pimps, prostitutes, thugs, poets, painters, all drowning in degradation, lust and crime. We are drawn into a languorous world of shocking low life in and around Rashid's opium house on Shuklaji Street sometime in the 1970s, place of alleyways, and villages and decrepit buildings. We meet Dimple, the eunuch who prepares the pipes for the regular clients, the preparation an art like a sacred tea ceremony. The eunuch shows up as a beautiful lady who enjoys reading, goes to the cinema to watch lengthy Bollywood movies and listens to stories Mr Lee relates. Mr Lee, a Chinese... Read more
It'd be easy to call Narcopolis the 'Trainspotting of India,' where we swap Glasgow for Bombay, but the interesting comments on India as a developing nation and home to many varied peoples certainly elevate this book beyond an exotic re-hash.

Thayil's novel focuses on the clients and workers of a Mumbai opium den circa 1980-something. Each character seems to take a turn being the author's center of attention. It's an interesting, if familiar, device that kept me turning the pages, but I thought some of the stories felt a little underdeveloped. Attempts on Thayil's part to tie it all together in the end perhaps fall a little short, but while Narcopolis may not be a great novel, I'd say that this a very entertaining collection of intertwining short stories with some unexpected tangents. Despite the dark subject matter, I find myself appreciating again how fascinating and unique a country India is.
Please Note

The authorised South African distributor of this product is under no obligation to honour the manufacture's guarantees/warranties or to provide after-sales service.

Please note that this item is imported from the USA, and is designed to be used in the USA. In addition, if the unit is powered it will come with a US plug and an adapter/transformer may be required. Please click here for more information on power requirements, or check with us if you are unsure or need any assistance!

Please also note that certain items cannot be imported, these include Alcohol, Animals, Batteries, Flammable Materials, Currency, Food, Furs, Chemicals, Explosives, Medications, Plants, Seeds, Supplements, Pressurized Cans, Tactical Equipment, Vitamins, Weaponry and Weaponry Accessories. In these cases, the item and information is displayed for reference purposes only. If you are not sure if we are permitted to bring an item, please send us an e-mail with a link to the item to confirm.

Please also ensure that you are ordering the correct item for your particular application as returns to the USA are costly. Product reviews are also provided for most of our items, which can give you a good idea for possible things to look out for and the quality of the item. By clicking Add to Cart, you are confirming that the item is correct and you accept the conditions listed here.