The Story of My Assassins – Masterpiece

Remember, son, the final seat of all achievement is neither the head nor the heart nor the muscles. It is the ass. Courage and determination lives in the ass! When the odds stack up against men, when the challenges mount, it is the ass that gives way first! All my life I have seen it. The asshole opens up and bleats like a goat. The head and the heart and the muscles see it, and follow suit.

– Rajbir Gujjar to young Vishal (later to become the dreaded killer Hathoda Tyagi), p.424, The Story of My Assassins

Tarun Tejpal Story of My Assassins Review by

To hail Tarun Tejpal’s new book The Story of My Assassins as a mere masterpiece would be like saying the Kohinoor is a mere diamond or dismissing Abhishek Bachchan as just another Bollywood idiot!

Gross understatements.

As most Indians know, the Kohinoor is the pride of India and more than a mere diamond. And Abhishek, each time the dolt opens his mouth, adds depth and ballast to the concept of idiocy.

No book on India has ever captured the idiom of India, yesterday, today and tomorrow, so beautifully like The Story of My Assassins.

Like all great works of art, The Story of My Assassins defies easy definition.

If pressed, I’d say the book is a nonpareil tragi-comedy, capturing all that’s grotesque, tragic, uplifting, depressing and comic about India.

In short, to read The Story of My Assassins is to understand Incredible India in its myriad odd facets.

Every character, and there are so many in The Story of My Assassins, leaps out of the pages to scream out his or her idiosyncrasies.

Besides the five colorful assassins Chaaku, Kabir, Kaaliya, Chini and Hathoda Tyagi, there’s Sara, Chutiya-Nandan-Pandey, Ghulam, Sippy, Guruji, Hathi Ram, Jai and so many others.

One of the many charms of this delightful book is that there’s no such thing as a lesser character.

Compared to all the characters, the narrator seems positively normal, except for his priapic obsession for banging Sara.

There are no holy cows in The Story of My Assassins.

From the country’s convent schools to the bureaucracy, the temples, the police and the nouveau riche, every Indian institution of any note comes under the satirical glare of Tarun Tejpal’s keen insight.

Tejpal’s writing is par excellence, every page dripping in sarcasm, seething with rage and pulsating with life.

The setting for the story is Delhi, foraying occasionally into neighboring states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana although a few characters like Chini come from far off, rainy places like Manipur.

So the tome (529-pages) is North Indian and cow-belt centric in tone.

To canvass the many virtues of an extraordinary book like The Story of My Assassins to all ye chutiyas is like casting pearls before a swine.

It’s unlikely that most of you classless chutiyas would ever bother to pick up such a fine work. Of course, you gaandus would be the loser then.

This splendid book is available in both Kindle ($13.99) and print ($18.45) versions.

But there’s no need to spend a penny to read this gem since most U.S. county and city libraries carry The Story of My Assassins.


4 Responses to "The Story of My Assassins – Masterpiece"

  1. badri34   February 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Wow, rare to see SI praising something so much.

    My library has this book. I will read it. Responds:

    529 pages of joy!

  2. Sisri   February 20, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I feel like I should wait to finish the book to comment here…I am at Hathoda Tyagi

    cannot more agree on “there is no such thing as a lesser character”.

    You say the narrator is positively normal, well just in comparison to others? there is Sara obsession; solace seeking in Guruji; colour obsessed; dysfunctional marriage!

    There was really one point where I was really grossed out, that was about the Theater in Bangkok! and heart reaches out to Kabir M, Chini.

    Beautifully captured diabolic idiosyncrasies through the book. Totally enjoying it. Responds:

    Yes, Kabir’s fate and his calm, stoical acceptance is surreal within the context of the book.

    No disrespect to Shashi Tharoor but this is the Great Indian Novel.

  3. Sisri   February 21, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Completed reading it and it is a brilliant, beautiful book! Responds:

    The Story of My Assassin is a great work of art!

    It’s a pity that the majority of SI readers will not pick it up….well, I’ve never had a high opinion of my readers! 😉

    • Sisri   February 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      imagine this being made into a movie someday by RGV and casting Abhishek Bachchan as the narrator :)))) Responds:

      Sweetie, I disagree!

      In my not-so-humble opinion, Abhishek Bachchan would be great for the role of Sippy.

      For the benefit of the chutiyas who are unlikely to ever read this fine book, Sippy is a watchman, drunkard, serial masturbator (for 50 years) and a blithering idiot who’s mocked by the office boys as “Uncle Tooblite” because of his “delayed response metabolism.”

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