New Delhi: Jeet Thayil, 53, Kerala born poet and novelist is up for the most prestigious literary honour in the English-speaking world. Thayil has been nominated in the covet list of 12 of world’s best writers for the 2012 Man Booker Prize for his debut novel ‘Narcopolis’.
Having made a blistering debut, critics have likened ‘Narcopolis’ to William Burroughs’s ‘Junky’ and Thomas de Quincey’s ‘Confessions of an English Opium Eater’. The novel is a compelling tale of Mumbai`s hazy world of opium addiction.
In an interview, he described Narcopolis as “Bombay’s secret history” as distinct from its “official” history of “money and glamour.”
“You can sanitise… as much as you like, but… can’t get rid of the grime,” he told the interviewer.
If Mr. Thayil goes on to win the prize which also include a sum of £50,000, he will join a select band of India or India-born writers such as Salman Rushdie, Kiran Desai and Aravind Adiga, who have won a Booker.
Interestingly, Thayil was in news during the Jaipur Lit Fest in January this year, when he along with Ruchir Joshi, Hari Kunzru and Amitava Kumar were asked to leave the city after they read out excerpts from Salman Rushdie’s banned novel ‘The Satanic Verses’.