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Tania James Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Atlas of Unknowns (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Tusk That Did the Damage (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Loot (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Aerogrammes: and Other Stories (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Lion and Panther in London (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Tania James is a bestselling author of literary and historical fiction author from Washington D.C. She has been the finalist for the Oppenheimer Award by the Financial Times and the International Dylan Thomas Prize.
“Aerogrammes” her collection of short stories was named a Best Book of 2012 by The San Francisco Chronicle, Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews.

“Atlas of Unknowns,” the novel made the final shortlist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and was also an Editors Choice at the New York Times.
Her short stories have been featured in One Story, Freeman’s, The Oprah Magazine, and The New Yorker among many other places.

James has also won fellowships from the Fulbright Program, Macdowell Colony, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and Ragdale.

“Loot” her 2023 published novel made the longlist for the National Book Award for fiction whose rights have been sold in Russia, Spain, India, and the United Kingdom.
She currently works at George Mason University as an associate professor of English.

James’ upbringing in Louisville, Kentucky had a significant impact on her writing. A pivotal moment was when she applied to the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. This was an artistic boot camp targeted at kids between 16 and 17 year olds.
He was accepted as a creative writer and in about three weeks, her perception of the career of a writer grew in bounds and leaps. She had the privilege of being taught by Frank X Walker and Kelly Norman Ellis who were black poets.
Just the fact that they were black exploded her notions of what being an author could be like. Until that point, she had only read from the works of long-dead white authors and had always tried to mimic those voices.
As such, when she got a lot of encouragement from Kelly and Frank and began to mine their memories and experiences, things became very revelatory.

As for her influences, her biggest inspirations have to be her two sisters and her parents.

Outside of that, she has also been greatly influenced by the works of Jane Eyre. It was from Eyre that she began to wonder about the author’s intentions and perspectives.

Outside of her writing, she has also been heavily interested in other artistic practices besides writing. As a child, she loved doing classical Indian dance and tap dancing and only stopped doing that when she went to college.
She took up dancing once again a few years later when a friend of hers who is a brilliant classical dancer started a small collective of dancers who practice the classical form of Indian dance known as “Kuchipudi.”
Every so often, they used to gather together on Zoom or in one of their homes to enjoy their dance moves.

“Loot” by Tania James introduces seventeen-year-old Abbas, whose talents in woodcarving come to the attention of Tipu Sultan.

He is summoned to the palace to build a gigantic robotic tiger for the Sultan’s sons to commemorate their return from captivity under the British.

His fate and that of the giant tiger he carves will reflect that of the vicissitudes of dynasties and nations ravaged by war across Europe and India.

Working alongside Lucien du Leze the legendary French clockmaker, Abbas becomes better at his craft, meets the daughter of a French expatriate Jehanne, and learns French.

When Du Lexe is finally allowed back to Rouen his home, he asks Abbas to tag along as his apprentice. However, by the time Abbas arrives in Europe, the sultan’s palace has been looted by English soldiers, and the tiger robot is gone.
To prove himself true, Abbas will have to steal into an English countryside estate and retrieve it from the plundered art collection, where it is being displayed.

It is an enthralling historical fiction work from the eighteenth century about a love story and a hero’s quest.

It is also the story of an exuberant adventure cum heist and a coming-of-age story of an artist that traces the bloody legacy of colonialism across half a century and two continents.

“The Tusk That Did the Damage” is a riveting work set in South India that looks at the moral complexities of the ivory trade.

It is a work that is penned from the eyes of a documentary filmmaker, a poacher, and what has to be one of the most audacious feats of imagination, “Gravedigger” the infamous elephant.
The latter had been left an orphan by poachers when she was just a small calf and had then been sold into a life of exhibition and labor.

He ultimately broke free from the bondage and began causing all manner of terror in the countryside, where he got his name killing humans that he then tenderly buried.

One person who was devastated by Gravedigger’s activities includes the studious son of a rice farmer named Manu, who was left in shock when Gravedigger killed his cousin.
Reacting to the elephant’s violence, he joins forces with Jayan his wayward brother, and heads into the alluring and sordid world of poaching.

On the other hand, there is a young American named Emma who is working on a documentary with her best friend from college, who is a witness of the porous boundary between corruption and conservation.
She finds herself deep in a moral gray area as she engages in an affair with the subject of her film who is a veterinarian.

With the novel hurtling toward what is a tragic climax, the three storylines will fuse into a moving meditation on loyalty, love, duty, and betrayal and the strained relationship between nature and man.

Tania James’ work “Atlas of Unknowns” tells the story of Anju and Linno who are two sisters who make their home in Kerala the Indian state with their grandmother and father.
They lost their mother who died in mysterious circumstances even though the family does not like to discuss it.

At some point, Linno suffers an accident that disfigures her and forces her to withdraw within herself.

This event seems to destroy the relationship between the two sisters, which seems to have grown a tangle of thorns too dense and too sharp to pass through without pain.

Anju gets a student visa and moves to the US where she deals with her guilt and confronts the truth of what happened to her mother just like her sister does back home.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Tania James

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