The Devourers by Indra Das

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Themes are heavy, yet nuanced and subtle to avoid crossing into overbearing or preachy...The character interaction and multiple point of view and timelines are well done, but what is a larger strength is how the author tricks the reader into underestimating his characters to surprising and delightful results.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

For readers of Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, China Miéville, and David Mitchell comes a striking debut novel by a storyteller of keen insight and captivating imagination.

On a cool evening in Kolkata, India, beneath a full moon, as the whirling rhythms of traveling musicians fill the night, college professor Alok encounters a mysterious stranger with a bizarre confession and an extraordinary story. Tantalized by the man’s unfinished tale, Alok will do anything to hear its completion. So Alok agrees, at the stranger’s behest, to transcribe a collection of battered notebooks, weathered parchments, and once-living skins.

From these documents spills the chronicle of a race of people at once more than human yet kin to beasts, ruled by instincts and desires blood-deep and ages-old. The tale features a rough wanderer in seventeenth-century Mughal India who finds himself irrevocably drawn to a defiant woman—and destined to be torn asunder by two clashing worlds. With every passing chapter of beauty and brutality, Alok’s interest in the stranger grows and evolves into something darker and more urgent.

Shifting dreamlike between present and past with intoxicating language, visceral action, compelling characters, and stark emotion, The Devourers offers a reading experience quite unlike any other novel.

Praise for The Devourers

“A chilling, gorgeous saga that spans several centuries and many lands . . . The all-too-human characters—including the nonhuman ones—and the dreamlike, recursive plot serve to entrance the reader. . . . There’s no escaping The Devourers. Readers will savor every bite.”—N. K. Jemisin, The New York Times Book Review

The Devourers is beautiful. It is brutal. It is violent and vicious. . . . [It] also showcases Das’s incredible prowess with language and rhythm, and his ability to weave folklore and ancient legend with modern day loneliness.”—Tor.com

“A wholly original, primal tale of love, violence, and transformation.”—Pierce Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Red Rising Trilogy

“Astonishing . . . a narrative that takes possession of you and pulls you along in its wake.”—M. R. Carey, author of The Girl with All the Gifts

“Every sentence of this ferocious and extraordinary book pulses with life. An absolute masterpiece.”—Daniel José Older, author of Half-Resurrection Blues

“Profoundly moving and endlessly inventive.”—Ken Liu, World Fantasy Award–winning author of The Grace of Kings

“Das’s brutal, intoxicating, and gorgeously visceral debut merges an often mythic sensibility with an appreciation for the coarse beauty of the everyday.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A sensual tale of violence and desire . . . for fans of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire but with a fascinating setting beautifully described.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“Das’s narrative is lush, imaginative, and hypnotic, bringing to life scenes of savagery and moments of wonder. . . . Das’s debut is an ambitious, unsettling trip into our own capacity for violence.”—Kirkus Reviews

“[An] extraordinary piece of meta-fiction: stories within stories . . . trans-genre, transgender and transgressive . . . Who gets what he or she wants and, above all, who has the moral right to their desires, is the heart of this remarkable, multi-layered novel.”—Maclean’s


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Indra Das

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INDRA DAS grew up in Kolkata, India, where he wrote his first novel during his late teens before venturing to the United States. There, undergrad Creative Writing classes convinced him to keep chasing that writing career. Das is an Octavia E. Butler scholar and a grateful graduate of the 2012 Clarion West Writers Workshop, where he wrote under the tutelage of Kelly Link, George R.R. Martin and Chuck Palahniuk, among others. He completed his M.F.A. at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he wore many hats, including TV background performer, freelance editor, writing mentor, tutor, minor film critic, occasional illustrator, environmental news writer, pretend-patient for med school students, video game tester, and dog hotel night shift attendant. The Devourers is his first published novel, though Das has written about books, comics, TV and film for various publications and has seen his short fiction published in a number of fiction magazines and anthologies. He now divides his time between India and North America and is hard at work on his next novel.
Author Residence: Kolkata, India
Author Hometown: Kolkata, India
 
Published May 11, 2015 by PENGUIN BOOKS INDIA. 320 pages
Genres: History, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Devourers
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Apr 13 2016

Readers are left to draw their own moral conclusions as to where right and wrong lie amid the blood. Not for the squeamish, Das' debut is an ambitious, unsettling trip into our own capacity for violence.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Catherine Grant on Jul 29 2016

Themes are heavy, yet nuanced and subtle to avoid crossing into overbearing or preachy...The character interaction and multiple point of view and timelines are well done, but what is a larger strength is how the author tricks the reader into underestimating his characters to surprising and delightful results.

Read Full Review of The Devourers | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books
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