London, Sept 12: Indian book aficionados are cheering the news of Jeet Thayil's debut novel "Narcopolis" making it to the shortlist of Man Booker Prize, the results of which were announced here on Tuesday, Sept 11. A total of six books made it to the shortlist.
If Kerala-born 53-year-old Thayil wins the award, he would join a select group of Indian or India-born Booker winners such as Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai and Aravind Adiga, to win the coveted literary award. It was only four years back when Adiga brought laurels to India by winning the Man Booker Prize for his highly acclaimed book "The White Tiger".
Narcopolis is a dark tale about the opium and heroin dens of Mumbai. The book is said to be based on Thayil's own experiences in city's "seedy underbelly".
The book has already garnered lot of positive responses at the international podium. Many critics have hailed the book as a "blistering debut". The Guardian had compared Narcopolis to the likes of William Burroughs's "Junky" and Thomas de Quincey's "Confessions of an English Opium Eater". However, Thayil has a tough competition ahead as he is competing with literary heavyweights like Hilary Mantel, a previous Booker winner, and Will Self.
The other five nominees are Will Self ("Umbrella"), Deborah Levy ("Swimming Home"), Malaysia's Tan Twan Eng ("The Garden of Evening Mists") and first-time novelists Alison Moore ("The Lighthouse") and Hilary Mantel ("Bring up the Bodies").
"We loved the shock of language shown in so many different ways and were exhilarated by the vigour and vividly defined values in the six books that we chose," said Peter Stothard, chair of the judges and editor of the Times Literary Supplement.
Stothard added the books were selected for their "pure power of prose".
The panel comprised of academic and writer Bharat Tandon, historian Amanda Foreman, critic Dinah Birch and actor Dan Stevens.
The overall winner will receive a cheque for 50,000 pounds. Moreover, the winner is sure to see a huge spike in sales of his/her book, which is an usual trend for all Man Booker award winning book.
The prize launched in 1969 is to promote works of fiction written by citizens of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.
The Man Booker Prize will be announced at a colourful event at London's Guildhall on Oct 16.