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Narcopolis: A Novel Hardcover – April 12, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
The characters in this book include the amazing Dimple, who was born a boy but who was castrated at a young age and works as a prostitute in a brothel next to an opium den, where she prepares the pipes. Although she has no formal education she is able to read and is always looking for beauty although she doesn't find it in the streets of this huge metropolis. Among others who frequent the opium den are the Chinese refugee/businessman, Mr.Lee, who has his own tale of woe and Rumi, a working man who is addicted to violence. Opium gives way to heroin as the years go by but the cast of characters seeking relief from whatever ails them only increases in number.
Mr.Thayil, a poet, whose use of language is so vivid that the city and its inhabitants really come to life, also portrays, vividly, the violent riots between Muslims and Hindus which erupted in 70s, 80s and 90s and which hatred still exists today. I highly recommend this book and will attempt to read other of his books.
The underworld is accepting of characters who deviate radically from normal expectations. These marginalized souls include an opium den operator, a transgender opium pipe preparer, a violent day worker and family man who visits the den, an alcoholic artist who acts out the expectations of deviance by his admirers, a Chinese expatriate businessman mourning the loss of his culture, and other survivors determined to connect without pain to the immediate life of the subcontinent, the mysterious Eastern metropolis of Bombay.
Although the old Bombay and its people seem doomed to the squalor of small lives and little motivation to improve their lot, there is remarkable freedom for the adventurous in the life of the immediate senses and easy gratification of desires. There is plenty of opportunity for consideration of morality, religion, art, personal responsibility, reincarnation, violence, rebellion, and the soaring illusion of freedom induced by intoxication. It is all there in the ancient city for people with the courage to immerse themselves in its uplifting and destructive life.Read more ›
and so with the story--really about dimple, the prostitute born male who underwent a painful sex change at the age of nine to work in a bordello. once ullis disappears early from the story and dimple becomes protagonist, the style changes and the reader is guided by her around the khana, the opium room, and introduced to the regulars of the room, rashid, the owner; bengali, who acts as a kind of manager, sharing his thoughts, one of them: would the fate of opheus had turned out differently had he chosen a more pleasant tune; mr lee, a competitor, a refugee from china, his interesting back story told in detail; and, of course, dimple, hijra, eunuch, prostitute and preparer of pipes in the khana.
this is a closed world, a world that cannot hide from time and progress. near the conclusion of the story, decades have passed and ullis returns to a changed bombay.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I actually first listened to this book on a long road trip, and I loved it so much I've already read it twice. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rachel A. Van Sickle
Who knew Opium could be simultaneously fun AND dark. I enjoyed the book because of its setting in India, the variety of characters and the slow burn of a decline to the endPublished 2 months ago by Paul Richardson
Pornographically descriptive violence against women (and girls) without a single, embodied female character throughout. I am sorry I paid for this book...Published 11 months ago by T. Cohen
I found difficult at the start, but then book finds it's own, little weird sort of rhythm. It is worth tryingPublished 17 months ago by Kiran
I found Narcopolis slow and not very interesting. Dimple, the most interesting character was not developed and I would have been more interested in a complete book about her.Published 21 months ago by Diane Simons
What a trip, observant, sensitive and erudite. Politically astute. I can't wait to read it again.Published 21 months ago by JohanVanRooyen
A fast paced, exquisitely written journey through the seedy and tantalizingly ephemeral world of altered consciousness. Read morePublished on June 5, 2014 by Anthony O.
It took me some time to get into Narcopolis but after that boy was it a fascinating read. Not quite a linear story, the different sections kind of pick up on details of different... Read morePublished on June 1, 2014 by Nishant Katoch
this is the best book on India I've read to date. I will watch the author for more. I expect more.Published on April 1, 2014 by BronxRev