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Jeet Thayil Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Narcopolis (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Book of Chocolate Saints (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Low (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Names of the Women (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Gemini (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Apocalypso (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
English: Poems (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
These Errors Are Correct (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Collected Poems (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

First Proof(2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Love and Lust: Stories and Essays(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

About Jeet Thayil

Jeet Thayil has fast become an iconic Indian artist in the literary scene. He’s multi-talented, shining as a poet, novelist, librettist, and musician. Thayil’s writing skills extend beyond just storytelling; he is known for breathing life into characters and creating gripping narratives that keep readers hooked. His creations are not merely characters, but individuals with depth and personality, making his stories as engaging as they are entertaining.

Thayil’s strength as a writer lies in his exceptional ability to craft characters. His protagonists are often complex, realistic, and relatable individuals, leading readers on captivating journeys. Whether you are a seasoned bookworm or a casual reader, Thayil’s characterful storytelling assures a reading experience that is engrossing from start to finish.

At the heart of Thayil’s work is his talent for creating compelling stories. He doesn’t simply tell a tale; he invites readers into vibrant worlds filled with intrigue, drawing you deep into the narrative with his imaginative and vivid storytelling. With both remarkable talent and literary innovation, Thayil offers a unique storytelling experience that both educates and entertains.

He has a knack for seamlessly combining engaging narratives with multilayered characters. Each individual he creates isn’t just a product of his imagination but seems to jump off the pages, engaging the reader in their intricate world. By connecting compelling characters with captivating storylines, he crafts unforgettable experiences for his readers.

Thayil’s stories are far more than just well-structured narratives. They’re vessels carrying provocative ideas and fresh perspectives, offering readers a novel outlook on the world. His stories often reflect upon less-explored themes, inviting the reader to engage on a deeper level and ponder over the subtler aspects of life.

This unique blend of inventive storylines, powerful character portraits, and fresh ideas make Thayil’s work stand out. His narrative style showcases his ability to inject an overriding sense of originality in his work, often leaving readers with newfound insights. Thus, through his tales, Thayil succeeds in not just narrating a story, but in telling something quite distinctive and fresh.

Early and Personal Life

Indian author Jeet Thayil was born in 1959 in Mamalassery, Kerala. His father, Thayil Jacob Sony George, was also a writer and editor, and it was his work that inspired Thayil’s early interest in literature. Growing up, Thayil lived in different cities across the globe, including Mumbai, Hong Kong, and New York, each leaving a mark on him and influencing his outlook towards life and writing.

Thayil has always been a driven individual. He was primarily in Mumbai until he was 8 years old, then relocated to Hong Kong and later returned to India at 18. He pursued higher education in New York, earning an MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. Thayil’s ambitions took him further as he worked as a journalist in various cities like Mumbai, Hong Kong, Bengaluru, and New York till he was 40.

Thayil’s life took an unexpected turn when he began battling addiction after he turned 18. However, he successfully overcame this challenge in his 40s and found a new perspective on life. Nowadays, in addition to his writing, Thayil also expresses his creative spirit through music. He forms one half of the contemporary music project Sridhar/Thayil, contributing as a songwriter and guitarist, based out of Mumbai and New Delhi.

Writing Career

Jeet Thayil’s debut novel, Narcopolis, was released in 2012 to great acclaim. The novel is a rich exploration of 1970s and ’80s Bombay, revealing the city’s clandestine past as opium made way for readily available heroin. Thayil’s intention with Narcopolis was to memorialize the forgotten individuals from the opium dens, and offer a glimpse into the extinguished world of substance abuse and marginalization.

His other novels, which include The Book of Chocolate Saints (2017), Low (2020), and Names of the Women (2021), were crafted from the hefty 800-page first draft of Narcopolis, highlighting Thayil’s meticulous dedication to his craft.

Thayil’s writing career also extends to poetry, with collections like Gemini (1992), Apocalypso (1997), English (2004), These Errors Are Correct (2008), and Collected Poems (2015). As an acclaimed poet, he served as the Arts Queensland Poet-In-Residence in 2016. Thayil has also edited several literary works, including Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets, 60 Indian Poets, and Divided Time.

He wrote the libretto for the opera Babur in London, which premiered in 2012 and explores the intricacies of faith and multiculturalism in modern Britain through a riveting encounter with the ghost of Babur.


The historical debut, ‘Narcopolis,’ was penned by Jeet Thayil and arrived in bookshops on February 2, 2012. The publishing house Faber & Faber took on its publication. Its significance was acknowledged the same year as it garnered many accolades, including a nomination for the prestigious Booker Prize.

Shuklaji Street, in Old Bombay, is home to Rashid’s dense, intoxicating opium room filled with men lost in their own worlds. Outside, life hustles on with stray dogs, street vendors, and sex workers vying for attention amidst whispers of a lethal threat called the Pathar Maar targeting the invisible poor.

‘Narcopolis’ paints a vivid, chaotic picture of 1970s Bombay through an ensemble of colorful characters from pimps to poets. Its compelling narrative is a unique display of electric prose revealing an expansive underworld.

The Book of Chocolate Saints

‘The Book of Chocolate Saints,’ a literary novel, was once again masterly crafted by Jeet Thayil. It was published on the 1st of March, 2018, and was also released by Faber & Faber.

The narrative unravels Xavier’s tumultuous journey to redemption or possibly perdition, capturing his struggle as a complex, self-destructive artist wrestling with conflicting desires. Transpiring in Delhi and Manhattan, the story delves deep into profound impulses, offering a daring, unyielding exploration.

This brilliantly astute and mesmerizing slice of literary fiction further cements Jeet Thayil’s standing as a promising writer.

It proves to be an engaging read from start to finish. The prose beautifully explores the protagonist Xavier’s journey with its deep and daring narrative. The settings of Delhi and Manhattan come alive in the story, thanks to Thayil’s masterful crafting.

Undoubtedly, it’s a literary treat that effortlessly stands out in today’s eclectic mix.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jeet Thayil

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