Brilliant and versatile

2012-09-05 00:00

 

BOOK REVIEW

I Am An Executioner

Rajesh Parameswaran

Bloomsbury

RAJESH Parameswaran is simply brilliant – audacious, inventive and extraordinarily versatile, as his collection of nine short stories, I Am An Executioner, demonstrates. The stories are notable for their sheer chutzpah; for their often tantalisingly unresolved endings; for the range of narrative voices and styles.

Two stories are told by animals: one, by a Bengal tiger who conceives a passionate, and ultimately destructive, attraction for his zoo-keeper; and the other, by an elephant escapee from a circus, who hastens to write her autobiography in the imagined language, Englaphant, a tongue spoken by elephants who have had close human contact.

In extensive footnotes to the latter story, the apparent translator/editor, working on the elephant’s text, adds further detail and provides information about his own credentials for the task. At times, the footnotes take over, ousting the text.

While both stories highlight the familiar notions of the plights of animals in captivity and human misconceptions of the behaviour of wild animals, it is in the telling that the pieces are so intriguing.

Although he was born in India, Parameswaran has resided in America since infancy. Some of his protagonists/narrators are, similarly, Indians living in the States. In a grimly humorous story, one Gopi, fired from his job, establishes himself — sans qualifications — as a doctor specialising in women’s ailments; in another, a woman has a particular damaging thought, which she believes demons, passing synchronously and invisibly by, overhear and manifest; in yet another, the narrator is in the film industry, working for an egotistical director and surreptitiously cuckolding him.

The title story, I Am An Executioner, is written in the speech patterns of a native of India speaking English and narrated by the Chief Executioner of a “small and famous country”.

Skilfully executed, highly amusing, yet grisly, it is a fine example of Parameswaran’s talent.

Further, Parameswaran includes two futuristic/science fiction pieces, one, a chilling account of a state in which everyone is under intensive surveillance and the other, a glimpse of Planet Lucina, AD 2319, narrated by one of the insect-like inhabitants who prepares corpses for display and disposal.

This is Parameswaran’s début collection. One wonders what he will do next.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.