cover image The Story of My Assassins

The Story of My Assassins

Tarun J. Tejpal. Melville (Random, dist.), $27.95 (544p) ISBN 978-1-61219-162-1

Tejpal’s masterful U.S. debut is an epic tale of modern-day India and its labyrinthine social and political machinations. Superficially, it’s the story of an unnamed muckraking journalist, embroiled in an affair, who learns of an assassination attempt on his life. As he investigates his would-be murderers’ motives, the stories of the five young men hired to kill him come to light; meanwhile, the author exposes the internecine workings of the Indian judicial system and deftly makes heroes of the disparate bunch of hit men, despite the trouble left in their respective wakes. While the narrator is an engaging focal character, the book works on many levels: it is a sweeping indictment of government bureaucracy, a revelation of the layered consequences of revenge, an exposé of the stunning violence visited upon victims of circumstance, and a brazen censure of how technology has quashed imagination—it is also a philosophical treatise on how to live one’s life to the fullest, ending with an ironic shift that will find the journalist owing his life to what he once scorned. Agent: Andrew Kidd, Aitken Alexander. (Oct.)