Skip to main content

The Story of My Assassins

Sometimes one is turned off by the sheer size of the book. What I mean is the number of pages a book has. The Story Of My Assassins by Tarun Tejpal has 522 pages. Phew. I had been reading it for the past two weeks but the last Saturday proved to be a boon. The rains causing a mini storm outside, no internet and no dish TV, I had no option but to sit and read the entire book. Which, mind you I haven't done in a while. Must say, It was worth it.

Tarun Tejpal's The Alchemy of Desire had me salivating for more. I am glad that I discovered the book. The language was lucid and the book, brilliantly written. Therefore, as his next book released I made sure I bought the hardcover copy.

The very beginning of the book is promising. Tejpal is a master with his words as he mellifluously paints images of 21st century India only to sardonically comment on them as we proceed. One can describe the book as a multiple layered story that works its way through the Indian sub-continent, its double-faced spirituality and hypocrisy in the garb of religion and the very visible and yet, undoable the divide of language, wealth and class.

But there is a glitch. If I compare this book to his first, which I do inadvertently, I am a little disappointed with the flow of the story. It has left me confused in bits and pieces like when Sara decides to find out about the so-called-assassins. The story goes off in some different tangent altogether. I do not understand that why he have to go into flashbacks so many times. The description of the Muslim bastiwala pondering upon whether they would go to Pakistan or stay back in India, reminded me of Khushwant Singh's A Train to Pakistan. Reading this bit, I completely forget the beginning of the book.

It is all of course very well written. But I find it useless as even though Tejpal writes beautifully, he sometimes goes overboard with the descriptions to create an impact. It gets too much to digest. Some characters like Sara, Guruji, Hathoda Tyagi and Dubeyji, are well rounded characters. You can visualize them vividly. But characters like Ghulam, Kabir's gentle Muslim father, who alienates himself and his son from their religion and any other kind of politics, Kabir who is reduced to sculpting chuzas out of wood, seem to have more scope but left in the middle.

Overall, I would say, the book is brillantly written but does not and cannot compare itself to Tejpal's first. The fast few lines however;

"Small minds: discuss people. Average minds: discuss events. Big minds: discuss ideas. Great minds: work in silence," are brilliant.


  1. Sounds like an interesting read! I am going to try it out :)

    Nice review!

  2. hey thanks, It was interesting and precise review.I havent read the first book but have heard enough to know its a good one and now hearing from you, i shall surely include it in my list. I think i should try the first one first.

    Thanks for dropping by.TC:)

  3. nice one ire...

    m gonna try both of his books

  4. I do agree Tarun's first book was an amazing read... I glanced through the covers of the second in a bookshop... didn't pick up though...
    Now that u recommend it... Will read it sometime for sure....

  5. @ Iggy

    Thank you! Try his first novel though...

    @ Zillionbig

    Yeah please do try the first one!

  6. @ d gypsy

    Try Alchemy of Desire please!

    @ Prats

    Do read it...its good. For the language at least! Thanks for dropping by!

  7. Wow, excellent review! Makes me want to go and pick it up. But I am bang in the middle of another mammoth book, A toss of a lemon, which is over 6oo pages.
    May be will try Tarun Tejpal's book once I finish that. Thanks for writing such a precise review.

  8. @ Aparna

    Thank you! Try reading his first novel though...The Alchemy of Desire

  9. Hmmm, i am going to try it soon, nice review though :)

  10. @ eye-in-sty-in


    @ Rash

    Thanks love and I am going to lend you my copy! hehehee

  11. hey N, i know u and H r very supportive am not going to say thanks formally for your kind msg...but chodo yaar..lemme tell...thankksss....and say 2 the big man who has done the vanishing trick..

  12. interesting... maybe I will come across this book someday :)

    take care...


  13. @ R. Ramesh

    :) Told the man to leave you a message! Thanks for dropping by!

    @ Arv

    Do try it. Its a good book!

  14. Haven't read this... or his first book... but thank you for this... Alchemy of Desire... here I come...

  15. i aint a book person (now) n i hv no clue why i read d review eventhough i knew it was a review all along!!!

  16. @ blunt edges

    Its ok. Though I hope you do something someday!

  17. Thats a nice review..crisp and letting go just when we want a bit more..I hate waiting for books to reach this land esp the ones by Indian authors..

  18. @ As the Mind Meanders

    Yes please do read his first book! Awesome!

    @ Sujata

    Thank you! I always stick to reading really good Indian Authors Like Amitav Ghosh and Jhumpa Lahiri. Do try this one though...

  19. Ooo...I love that last quote!

    Sounds like he may have needed a few more revisions and some tighter editing.

  20. A new look for your blog? I also want! :)

  21. @ Julia Smith

    Yeah maybe...but do read his first book!

    @ Nicole Braganza


  22. Here is my review of this book


Post a Comment

GO ahead, say it out loud!

Popular posts from this blog

Mind vs the heart

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Picture courtesy: Google. Only for representation purpose.
Standing on the highway, Roads leading both ways to somewhere, I stand still and wonder, Where do I belong?
The soothing lullabies of the green mist fairies call.  With promises to wrap me in the cool calm fog, Holding me in wet, gentle caresses, lulling the storm within. 
The call of the shrill, salt-laden sea sirens,  from the sun-baked rocks, Pull me back To join them as they make me one, in the fathomless abyss of wonders unseen. 
I lament my fragile being,  Born with one heart, not two, Torn between the ebb and flow of waves, And earthy scents in muddy dew. 
Both offer me refuge,  Cloaking me whole in their embrace, Dust to dust, flesh to flesh and soul to soul. 
In this battle between the mind and the heart, The heart but loses steam,  Leaving me stranded on a path to nowhere, never to be seen. 
My mind has been wrought with depression and all things crappy. This is a result of binge-watching a…

9 Things My Dog Taught Me About Life

And he has no clue…

I am guilty as charged. Per my husband, I spend every waking minute with my dog. If I am watching TV, he’s by my feet, if we plan an impromptu drive, he wants to come along, and at times, we do take him. My evening walks happen only because I have to take him. My social life is all thanks to him. And if you happen to mention the dog at a social gathering, I can go on and on about the pup even if we have nothing in common otherwise. Hell, I started an Instagram page just for the dog on popular demand!
I can assure you, though the husband isn’t convinced, that its all the dog’s doing. His popularity has only grown over the years, and who can resist those googly puppy eyes? He works his charm on all, irrespective of age, gender (partial to women though), color, and caste. He’s gentle with kids, super active with people who can keep up, he’s sensitive, always ready to share food (only yours) and so much more. His licks and cuddles have the power to melt glaciers and his …

#Sorry not sorry

I feel sorry for ‘Sorry’ – such an abused term. When you come to think of it, it is just a word, right? It holds significance in some instance and at times, it is a mere excuse. But we humans absolutely love it as an excuse, don’t we? I use this term a lot; I mean a lot! I think of myself as a kind being, and hence, if I happen to push or ignore (deliberate), I say ‘sorry’. I say sorry for things that may not need a ‘sorry’. I say ‘sorry’ to people I am not really feeling sorry for (don’t read this the wrong way). In short, I say ‘sorry’ a lot like I have already admitted. It is my ticket to moving on, a ticket to redeem myself for mistakes and sometimes, tinged with slight sadness (maybe).

But is ‘Sorry’ the right word? Mean, is it even appropriate? Like they say, first you commit the murder and then say sorry. What is the point of it? I would say nothing. Sorry – the term originated from the West Germanic term Sore that evolved to Sarig, meaning pained or distressed. It is also known…