A collection of other stories from shining India—those not often told.

My first collection of stories is out in USA: https://www.interlinkbooks.com/product/namaste-trump-and-other-stories/

… and has received a couple of early reviews:

“[A] magnificent collection … Indian poet, essayist, and author Tabish Khair nimbly interrogates relationships both enabled and sundered by religious and socioeconomic divides in Namaste Trump & Other Stories … Khair proves to be an elegant, diligent conduit for all of his characters, as he records incidents of desperate sacrifice, casual disregard, blind denial, and generational trauma to create an unforgettable mosaic of human frailty and unforgivable inhumanity.”

— Shelf Awareness, starred review

Review in Times Literary Supplement (UK): https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/namaste-trump-tabish-khair-book-review-michael-lapointe/

Review in Frontline: https://frontline.thehindu.com/books/book-review-namaste-trump-and-other-stories-tabish-khair-confronts-experience-of-being-muslim-in-contemporary-india/article67729914.ece

The short story “Namaste Trump” starts in a deceptive domestic setting, where a servant from the hinterlands is patronized and exploited by an upwardly mobile urban family. But as the nation celebrates Trump’s visit and copes with the pandemic, it ends up becoming a prophecy of endless haunting. This sets the agenda for a series of stories that delve into fracturing or broken lives in small-town India over the past fifty years.

In the novella-length “Night of Happiness,” 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. What will he discover: madness or something worse?

In a series of three linked stories, “The Corridor,” “The Ubiquity of Riots” and “Elopement,” Khair traces, through the eyes of an adolescent, the tensions of living as a liberal Muslim in India in the 1970s and 1980s, tensions that isolate families, break friendships, and point to the violence to come. The narrator of these stories, now a busy professional, returns in the third person in another story, “Olden Friends are Golden,” about belonging and exclusion on WhatsApp. Then there is “Scam,” a flippantly narrated story about a crime that can only be comprehended as a scam perpetuated by the victim, and in “Shadow of a Story” violence returns to a village family in an unimaginable shape.

“The Thing with Feathers” is perhaps about hope, but it is hope beyond despair, hope perhaps gone mad: or, is all hope mad now? Finally, “The Last Installment” narrates two farmers, a father and a son, in a village of North India, caught in a corporate vice: the breathless sentences of the story making the reader sense the desperation of the central character as he finally fights to breathe, to live.

By turns poetic, chilling, and heartbreaking, ranging from understated realism to gothic terror, this is a book of stories about precarious lives in a world without tolerance.