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Narcopolis av Jeet Thayil
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Narcopolis (utgåvan 2012)

av Jeet Thayil (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
5262133,823 (3.52)1 / 104
A tale of vice and passion set against a backdrop of late 1970s Bombay finds a New Yorker becoming entranced with the underworld culture of an opium den and brothel where he encounters a pipe-making eunuch, a violent businessman, and a Chinese refugee.
Medlem:devendradave
Titel:Narcopolis
Författare:Jeet Thayil (Författare)
Info:Faber and Faber (2012), Edition: Main, 304 pages
Samlingar:Read, Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:*
Taggar:kindle, read

Verkdetaljer

Narcopolis av Jeet Thayil

  1. 10
    Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found av Suketu Mehta (cometahalley)
    cometahalley: Metropoli affollata, Mumbai come altri centri in rapida espansione in India, si presenta con tutti gli eccessi derivati dal progresso.
  2. 10
    Shantaram av Gregory David Roberts (cometahalley)
    cometahalley: L'India di oggi divisa tra eccessi e tradizione millenaria. Tra conflitti e desiderio di emancipazione, il potere della droga.
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Visa 1-5 av 21 (nästa | visa alla)
One of the worst book I read in my life. I do not know why I finished this book till end. I do not enjoy it at all. ( )
  devendradave | Sep 1, 2020 |
We didn't get on straight away, Narcopolis and me. The Molly Bloom-esque prologue left me wondering what on Earth I'd let myself in for, whether Jeet Thayil the poet had just removed the line breaks from his latest collection and called it a novel. I shouldn't have worried. As it turned out the novel that Narcopolis most reminded me of was not [b:Ulysses|12803|Ulysses|James Joyce|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320399545s/12803.jpg|2368224] but [b:Moby Dick|9305975|Moby Dick|Herman Melville|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1284499671s/9305975.jpg|2409320]. Melville's masterpiece is a book about whaling that isn't about whaling. Rather it uses the long, dull sea voyage with all too brief and all too dangerous flurries of activity as a vast vehicle for this metaphorical, allegorical, otherwordsical meta-meta-novel about everything from poverty to theology.

In the same vein, Narcopolis is a novel about an opium den that isn't about an opium den. It's about Bombay, about the changing face of India over the past four decades. In that respect it helps if you know a little Indian. Luckily for me I live with one, and she was happy to translate the snatches of Hindi used here and there, and to explain some of the more esoteric historical points. I suspect she was also a little confused.

“What does this mean?”
“It's a man who was totally castrated as a child, and I mean totally: meat, two veg, and the sack they rode in on.”
“Oh okay, thanks. … What does this mean?”
“It's a bit of a song from an old Hindi film.”
“Oh okay, thanks. … What does this mean?”
“It's a fried-potato curry.”
“Oh okay, thanks. … What does this mean?”
“Heroin. And also: what in the hell are you reading?”

There's a lot to like about Narcopolis, and I liked a lot of it. I suspect I'm not possessed of a sufficiently poetic soul to ever love it, but I'd recommend it to those of you who do. ( )
1 rösta imlee | Jul 7, 2020 |
We didn't get on straight away, Narcopolis and me. The Molly Bloom-esque prologue left me wondering what on Earth I'd let myself in for, whether Jeet Thayil the poet had just removed the line breaks from his latest collection and called it a novel. I shouldn't have worried. As it turned out the novel that Narcopolis most reminded me of was not [b:Ulysses|12803|Ulysses|James Joyce|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320399545s/12803.jpg|2368224] but [b:Moby Dick|9305975|Moby Dick|Herman Melville|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1284499671s/9305975.jpg|2409320]. Melville's masterpiece is a book about whaling that isn't about whaling. Rather it uses the long, dull sea voyage with all too brief and all too dangerous flurries of activity as a vast vehicle for this metaphorical, allegorical, otherwordsical meta-meta-novel about everything from poverty to theology.

In the same vein, Narcopolis is a novel about an opium den that isn't about an opium den. It's about Bombay, about the changing face of India over the past four decades. In that respect it helps if you know a little Indian. Luckily for me I live with one, and she was happy to translate the snatches of Hindi used here and there, and to explain some of the more esoteric historical points. I suspect she was also a little confused.

“What does this mean?”
“It's a man who was totally castrated as a child, and I mean totally: meat, two veg, and the sack they rode in on.”
“Oh okay, thanks. … What does this mean?”
“It's a bit of a song from an old Hindi film.”
“Oh okay, thanks. … What does this mean?”
“It's a fried-potato curry.”
“Oh okay, thanks. … What does this mean?”
“Heroin. And also: what in the hell are you reading?”

There's a lot to like about Narcopolis, and I liked a lot of it. I suspect I'm not possessed of a sufficiently poetic soul to ever love it, but I'd recommend it to those of you who do. ( )
  leezeebee | Jul 6, 2020 |
Read this aloud and loved the poetic flow of the language, the disjointed drugged and slightly surreal narrative, the achingly poignant characterizations, and the general milieu of Bombay. It was surprising empathetic and insightful about drugs and addiction, about the kinds of insights one can gain and the costs those insights can incur. But I am not from Bombay, not an Indian, and despite the wealth of Google search, still could not figure out some of the local terms and references. So like poetry, it is best if you just surf the language and let yourself go with the flow...
( )
  terribly | Mar 23, 2016 |
Jeet Thayil's Narcopolis is Mumbai through the seductive smoke of an opium pipe. He gives us the city, mostly in the seventies, when there were, apparently, still dens where addicts (along with slumming hippies) could retreat to chase the dragon. In these smoky dens stories were lived, told, and dreamed, stories that feature Muslims and Hindus, transsexuals and thugs, along with well-brought up young Indian men. It is far from being a paradise, but it is a zone where a kind of freedom is available, freedom we see slip away as opium is displaced by heroin, and usually heroin badly adulterated with poisons. Thayil tells the stories of the individuals who pass through the smoke and on to the powder, and also of the city in which they live with poetic aplomb. His prose traps one in the dream he writes. ( )
  dcozy | Mar 14, 2015 |
Visa 1-5 av 21 (nästa | visa alla)
If you were to write a story set in Bombay, as the poet Jeet Thayil prefers to call the city now known as Mumbai in his outstanding debut novel, you don't have to work too hard. Much of it can write itself if you connect the dots of history: a city made of islands reclaimed by the British, a polyglot culture where all of India's languages, faiths and castes mingle, where the prevailing currency is money and its dreams are told, nay, sung, in those schmaltzy, kitschy Bollywood movies, and which lives on an edge, periodically blown up when terrorists set explosives, but returning to life the next day, resilient and resigned.

The ingenuity of Thayil's novel lies in how he has squeezed this entire universe into an opium pipe. And when the narrative dissipates into smoke, it leaves a deceptively addictive odour, with memorable characters at the margins of society. There is Dimple, the eunuch keen to read and learn; the Bengali who pretends to know more than he does (or maybe he does); and Rashid himself, who runs the opium den with disdain that's at once sardonic and laconic. There are others too, given peculiar names drawn from Bombay slang, but most try to do no harm, and often show heartwarming humanity. The unobtrusive narrator is Dom, whose soul-killing job is as a proof-reader of publicity material in a pharmaceutical company (with easy access to chemical substances). Just alongside the den are other vices - prostitution and crime.
tillagd av kidzdoc | ändraIndepenedent, Salil Tripathi (Mar 2, 2012)
 
Jeet Thayil’s debut novel, the deftly and aptly titled Narcopolis is—like the polis in which it takes place—part cacophony, part symphony: a whirlwind of drugs, sex, violence, loves, lives, deaths, and more than anything, stories. “Bombay,” the book begins, “which obliterated its own history by changing its name and surgically altering its face, is the hero or heroin of this story.” As the title suggests, the book is about drugs and about place. But it’s about much more than that as well.
 
Narcotic drugs have inspired much storytelling and literary dreaming, if rather less actual writing. Of those few novels that slide out of the smoke on to paper, we assume addiction is a requisite for authenticity and yet an enormous hindrance to productivity. After all, it is hardly playing by the rules of decadence and dereliction to find the willpower and tenacity to finish a manuscript. But a tiny number do convince the public that theirs is a genuine account of an addiction whose clutches the writer escaped for long enough to scribble down a compelling narrative: think William Burroughs's Junky, or Thomas de Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater.

Does Jeet Thayil's Narcopolis, a tale of opium dens and heroin addiction in Mumbai, join that select club? It is not an easy task. And there's another challenge: many books by foreign-educated Indians read as though they were written in a New York penthouse suite, the author having spent a couple of weeks researching a multi-generational, sprawling saga of Mumbai lowlife by chatting to the house servants of their relatives on the phone.

Narcopolis is a blistering debut that can indeed stand proudly on the shelf next to Burroughs and De Quincey. Thayil is quoted as saying that he lost almost 20 years of his life to addiction, but on this showing the experience did not go to waste. We can celebrate that he emerged intact and gave us this book.
tillagd av kidzdoc | ändraGuardian, Kevin Rushby (Feb 17, 2012)
 

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Bombay, which obliterated its own history by changing its name and surgically altering its face, is the hero or heroin of this story.
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He had been a believer for most of his life, had observed the five prayer times and followed the dietary strictures. Then he'd exchanged one habit for another, he'd given up god and accepted O [opium]. With heroin he'd opened himself to the ungodly and for this he would pay, he knew. He would be seized by the feet and flung into the fire. Because the powder was a new thing, the devil's own nasha. Rashid knew it the first time he saw street junkies bent over strips of tin foil, the way they sucked at the smoke, the instantaneous effect of it, how it closed their eyes and shut them off from their own bodies and the world. He saw them and thought: this is it, the future, coming too fast to duck. And now he was doing the same. And he was helpless against god's great wrath.
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A tale of vice and passion set against a backdrop of late 1970s Bombay finds a New Yorker becoming entranced with the underworld culture of an opium den and brothel where he encounters a pipe-making eunuch, a violent businessman, and a Chinese refugee.

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