“The Story of My Assassins” by Tarun J. Tejpal / Friday, October 12, 2012 / Reviewed by Clay Stafford

Today’s featured book is The Story of My Assassins by Tarun J. Tejpal.

"The Story of My Assassins" by Tarun J. Tejpal“The Story of My Assassins” by Tarun J. Tejpal

Whores, waifs, politicians, venture capitalists, and a journalist who must investigate himself.

Why Clay Stafford chose this book:

Today’s book of the day takes us on a thrilling and erotic ride in India with the literary novel “The Story of My Assassins” by journalist, publisher, and novelist Tarun J. Tejpal. At the beginning of the novel, police intercept five hitmen intent upon killing a journalist, the protagonist. The journalist, at first, has no interest in this intrusion on his life and his new affair, but as the publicity continues, he is forced – being a journalist and also via the influence of his mistress, a “progressive” woman in Indian society – to investigate who these men are and why they wanted him dead. The reason that I chose this book for “Killer Nashville’s Book of the Day” is because of its sense of place, its diversity, depth of characters, and the character arc of the protagonist.

I felt illuminated by reading this book as much as I found myself engrossed, though absorbed, I was. It is promoted as an “awesome adventure into the heart of India.” I’ve never been to India so I don’t know. What I do know is that I feel I know the caste system of India more – if this is it – from the poorest hovels to the beau monde palaces including a level of corruption, bribery, inequality, and inhumanity that I had not realized before. Tarun Tejpal is a powerful communicator and I became lost in his sense of place and his literary unpredictability. The novel has humor and some of the things that I laughed at, I really shouldn’t have. It is also merciless and brutal, a portrait of the powerful and defeated. I empathetically felt for the conquered in the refashioning of modern-day India. I felt a loss for the erroneous spiritual peace I have always associated with that country and its people. The divisions of rank, tongue, and affluence were ripplingly exposed.

After reading, I felt that – in the transition from Older India to the New India – something special was lost in the evolution. And then I made the leap. This is a novel that can change anyone’s perception because it doesn’t just highlight “over there.” It could also be a reflection or mirror of “over here.” It is a novel that makes us give thought: how do we view ourselves, our work, our families, the people in our lives, and the world in which we live?

From Amazon:

“Based on actual events, “The Story of My Assassins” tells the story of a journalist who learns that the police have captured five hitmen on their way to kill him. Landing like a bombshell on his comfortable life, just as he’s started a steamy affair with a brilliant woman, the news prompts him to launch an urgent investigation into the lives of his aspiring murderers – a ragtag group of street thugs and village waifs – and their mastermind. Who wanted him dead, and why?

But the investigation forces him to reexamine his own life, too – to confront his own notion of himself, his job, and his treatment of the women in his life, as well as his own complex feelings about the country that crafted his would-be killers.

Part thriller and part erotic romance, full of dark humor and knife-edged suspense, The Story of My Assassins is a piercing literary novel that takes us from the lavish, hedonistic palaces of India’s elite to its seediest slums. It is a novel of corruption, passion, power, and ambition; of extreme poverty and obscene wealth.

It is an awesome adventure into the heart of today’s India.”

If you want to make your own comments on this selection, we would love to hear from you. Join ourFacebook Killer Nashville group page or our blog and join in the discussion.

Remember that these books are listed at a discount through Amazon. You also don’t have to purchase the version that is featured here. Many of these books are available in multiple formats: e–book, hardcover, softcover, and audio. Enjoy!

– Clay Stafford, Founder of Killer Nashville