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The Assassination of Indira Gandhi: The Collected Stories

Nominated | Book Awards 2020 | Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)

The Assassination of Indira Gandhi: The Collected Stories

A magisterial collection of twelve long stories written between 1985 and 2019—including previously unpublished stories—by one of India’s finest and most well-known novelists.

Author: Upamanyu Chatterjee
Publisher: Speaking Tiger Publishing

Award Category: Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)
About the Book: 

For over three decades, Upamanyu Chatterjee’s has been an utterly distinctive and daring literary voice, with few equals among contemporary writers of fiction. In the twelve long stories that comprise this volume, he investigates, as only he can, the absurd comedy and the grand horrors of the human condition.

The book opens with his most recent story, written in 2018, which follows Thomas Roe, the much feted English Ambassador to the court of Jahangir, as he bumbles through a subcontinent far larger than his imagination can accommodate; and it concludes with the title story, written in 1985, in which a young Sikh sequestered in his parents’ home in Mussoorie, and debilitated by jaundice and ennui, listens disinterestedly to news of Indira Gandhi’s assassination and the massacre of Sikhs in Delhi. In the pages between the two, a variety of lives and situations unfold: a middle-class family in New Delhi makes some surprising discoveries about Shakespeare, race, wealth, and its youngest daughter; mystery killings in small-town Madna teach an innocent civil servant some lessons about the Indian state; the classmates of a thirteen-year-old girl learn of her brutal murder; a boy has his revenge on a sexual predator, while another, far away, seeks release from the job of cleaning the dry latrine in his school; a single man in Bombay brings home a pair of sparrows; a European woman gives up on life in a South Delhi barsati; one hundred and thirty children disappear from a German village visited by a rat-catcher.

A magisterial collection of stories—each as rich as a novel—The Assassination of Indira Gandhi is destined to become a classic of Indian literature.

About the Author: 

Upamanyu Chatterjee is the acclaimed author of the novels English, August: An Indian Story (1988), The Last Burden (1993), The Mammaries of the Welfare State (2000), which won the Sahitya Akademi Award for writing in English, Weight Loss (2006), Way to Go (2011), which was shortlisted for the Hindu Best Fiction Award, and Fairy Tales at Fifty (2014); and the novella The Revenge of the Non-vegetarian (2018), which was shortlisted for the Crossword Jury Award. In 2008, he was awarded the Order of Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government for his contribution to literature.


Some of [the stories] are truly complex, and some revel in simplicity. What is evident throughout is the humorous and satirical voice of the author. The understated humour freely sprinkled on the pages will not escape your attention. And this satire is serious literary satire… The Assassination of Indira Gandhi- The Collected Stories of Upamanyu Chatterjee is not a light weekend read, but instead needs to be treated like a true classic.

Upamanyu Chatterjee’s stories are not for the faint-hearted. His book ‘The Assassination of Indira Gandhi: The Collected Stories of Upamanyu Chatterjee (Volume One)’ packages human foibles with a veneer of humour that is delightful yet challenging.
- The Hindu Business Line

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