Born and educated in Gaya, a small town in Bihar, Tabish Khair is the author of various acclaimed works, including the novels, The Bus Stopped, Filming: A Love Story, The Thing about Thugs, How to fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position, and Jihadi Jane (available as Just Another Jihadi Jane outside India), the poetry collections, Where Parallel Lines Meet and Man of Glass, and the studies, Babu Fictions and The Gothic, Postcolonialism and Otherness, and The New Xenophobia. Khair is currently an associate professor at Aarhus University, Denmark, and a Leverhulme guest professor at the School of English, Leeds University, UK. He has won the All India Poetry Prize. His novels have been shortlisted for major prizes, including the Man Asian Literary Prize and the Encore Award, and translated into several languages.
Pragmatic entrepreneur Anil Mehrotra has set up his thriving business empire with the help of his lieutenant, Ahmed, an older man who is different in more ways than one. Quiet and undemanding, Ahmed talks in aphorisms, bothers no one, and always gets the job done. But when one stormy night, Mehrotra discovers an aspect to Ahmed that defies all reason, he is forced to find out more about his trusted aide.
As layers and layers of Ahmed’s history are peeled off, Mehrotra, finds himself confronting some deeply unsettling questions. Does Ahmed really have a wife? Does he keep her imprisoned in their flat? Is Ahmed deranged, or is he just making desperate sense of the horrors that afflicted him in the past ?
By turns poetic, chilling and heartbreaking, Night of Happiness is an unforgettable novel about the painful ironies of a world without tolerance.
Publisher (Indian subcontinent): Penguin Random House India
To what lengths would you go for your religion?
High-school best friends Ameena and Jamilla couldn’t be more different: while one smokes cigarettes in their school playground, the other is a member of her local mosque in suburban Yorkshire. When heartbreak leaves Ameena bereft and alone, she turns to Jamilla’s beloved Allah for solace.
It is then that both girls find themselves entranced by a powerful Internet preacher—Hejjiye, a woman working in support of the men fighting in the name of jihad. Leaving their families and country behind, they run to join the Islamic State in Syria to serve a cause they unquestioningly believe in. But things begin to change for the worse and suddenly, the girls find themselves faced with a choice that will change their lives beyond recognition forever.
Heart-wrenching, masterful and stunningly powerful, Jihadi Jane paints a vivid picture of militant brides operating around the world and the terrifying cost of religious fanaticism.
“In his wise, nuanced evocation of a young British woman’s soul-devouring love affair with Islamic State, Tabish Khair powerfully exposes the religious hypocrisy and blood-lust of one of this era’s most magnetic and ruthless movements. This novel’s triumph – and the world’s tragedy – is that Jamilla’s haunting, searing experience does not read like a work of fiction. This is not just a writer’s nightmare: it is ours.” — Liz Jensen
“A terrifying story of terrible times.” — Gulzar
“Gripping, Compassionate and Truthful.” — Neel Mukherjee
Publisher (India): HarperCollins Publishers India
Funny, sad, satirical and humane, Tabish Khair’s How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position tells the interlinked stories of three unforgettable men – the flamboyant Ravi, the fundamentalist Karim and the unnamed and pragmatic Pakistani narrator. Their trajectories cross in Aarhus, and are complicated by the Danish Prophet Mohammad Cartoon Controversy. As the unnamed narrator copes with his divorce and Ravi, despite his exterior of skeptical flamboyance, falls deeply in love with a beautiful woman who is incapable of responding in kind; Karim – their landlord – goes on with his job as a cab-driver and his regular Friday Quran Discussion sessions. But is he going on with something else? Who is Karim? Why does he disappear suddenly at times or receive mysterious phone calls? Even as Ravi’s great love wilts in the half-light of the autumn sun in Denmark, a conspiracy appears to have been hatched in front of his secular eyes: a fundamentalist attacks one of the cartoonists who had drawn the controversial caricatures of the prophet of Islam. Very soon, all three men are embroiled in doubt, suspicion and, perhaps, danger.
In his first novel set in contemporary times and Europe, Khair combines generic elements from the crime thriller, the immigrant novel, the campus novel and the young adult romance to comment deeply and movingly on our lives today. It is a gripping novel full of suspense, humour, pain, love and unforgettable characters.
Publisher: Sage Publications
The book is a fascinating, unusual and path-breaking intervention in current debates on reading and literature by two accomplished and active writers (Tabish Khair and Sebastien Doubinsky) who are also voracious readers and eminent scholars. The two complementary essays – one on literature and the other on reading – focus largely on texts in English and French, but also refer to other literatures. The writers taken up for discussion include William Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, Marcel Proust, Charles Baudelaire, Franz Kafka, William Burroughs, Dylan Thomas, Attia Hosain, Albert Wendt, Zadie Smith, Philip Hensher, Mohsin Hamid and many others.
Publisher (Indian Subcontinent): HarperCollins Publishers India
Amir Ali leaves his village in Bihar to travel to London with an English captain, William Meadows, to whom he narrates the story of his life – the story of a murderous thug. While Meadows tries to analyze the strange cult of the Indian thug, a group of Englishmen set out to prove the inherent difference between cultures and people by examining their skulls – with bizarre consequences.
A novel set in early Victorian London, teeming with unforgettable characters and full of narrative tension. This is a novel of tragedy and irony as well as humour and hope. Known for his refusal to fit his work into established diasporic, subalternist or post-colonialist narrative traditions, in The Thing About Thugs, Khair finally engages with these traditions by subtly and ironically deploying echoes from Victorian literature, ranging from Charles Dickens to P.M. Taylor’s Confessions of a Thug and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
Publishing: HarperCollins Publishers India
In the three sections of Man of Glass, Khair draws upon three writers from across centuries, cultures, literary genres and languages: Kalidasa and his fifth century Sanskrit play The Recognition Of Shakuntala; Asadullah Khan Ghalib and his early nineteenth-century Urdu ghazals; and H.C. Andersen and his Danish ‘fairy tales’. Drawing subtly upon the past, Khair engages powerfully and movingly with many issues and events of vital concern to the reader today: immigration, Afghanistan, terror, love, loss, death, human duplicity, faith, prejudice, the Iraq War, genocide…