The Snake Charmer by Sanjay Nigam
A Novel

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Hailed as an important new voice in fiction, Sanjay Nigam's debut is the story of a luckless snake charmer in an India both real and utterly magical

Named "The Year's Best Fiction" by A. Magazine, The Snake Charmer tells the story of Sonalal, a middle-age snake charmer making a living with his been pipe and his beloved cobra, Raju. Despite his great skills, Sonalal's drinking and womanizing seem to have marked him for a life of insignificance. But that all changes one remarkable afternoon when he produces music so beautiful he is certain the gods must be listening. In a moment that will change his life forever, Raju bites Sonalal, and Sonalal bites back, destroying the one creature who loves him. The Snake Charmer traces Sonalal's bumpy journey through brief celebrity, profound remorse, and a quest for answers to unanswerable questions of love, life, and art. Sparely and beautifully written, this "novel of enchantments" (Oscar Hijuelos) is an unforgettable debut, confirming the Washington Post's comparison of Nigam to Arundhati Roy and Vikram Chandra.

* Penguin Readers Guide Bound into Every Book

"An engaging, light as a feather tale . . . Sonalal is, in short, a marvelous creation." --Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

"The opening qualifies as the season's best." --USA Today

"An exceptional novel."--The Washington Post

* A selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Quality Paperback Book Club

* A Quality Paperback New Voices Fiction Award nominee

* The Utne Reader recently honored Nigam as one of the ten important writers who comprise "The New Face of Fiction"

About Sanjay Nigam

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Nigam is a physician and teaches at Harvard.
Published January 1, 1998 by Morrow/Avon. 223 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In a beautifully rendered but slight debut novel about the getting of wisdom, an Indian snake charmer struggles to find meaning after he impetuously destroys what he loves most.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Snake Charmer: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Indian-born Nigam, a physician who teaches at Harvard, has written a rather derivative fable about the fleeting nature of fame and fortune and about a life ruined by a single moment of stupidity.

Jun 01 1998 | Read Full Review of The Snake Charmer: A Novel

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