From the Booker-shortlisted author: one man’s whirlwind weekend of self-destructive grief.
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Ullis went to the bathroom and carefully unfolded the business card and placed it on the sink. Then he rolled up a note and snorted the last of his wife’s ashes.
Following the death of his wife, Dominic Ullis escapes to Bombay in search of oblivion and a dangerous new drug, Meow Meow. So begins a glorious weekend of misadventure as he tours the teeming, kaleidoscopic city from its sleek eyries of high-capital to the piss-stained streets, encountering a cast with their own stories to tell, but none of whom Ullis – his faculties ever distorted – is quite sure he can trust.
Heady, heartbroken and heartfelt, Low is a blazing joyride through the darklands of grief towards obliteration – and, perhaps, epiphany.
‘Jeet Thayil delights not just in pushing the bounds of possibility, but in smashing them to smithereens.’ John Burnside
Surprisingly colourful and enjoyable . . . Low offers vicarious kicks without the comedown
A novel of our times . . . Low is beautifully written, intelligent and gripping, and elicits compassion for a character who is pitifully adrift
Intoxication is difficult to write about with clarity and without self-indulgence. Only a few writers succeed in making hallucinatory reveries or amphetamine-fuelled adventures engaging for the reader. But there are glorious exceptions in modern fiction, such as the American Denis Johnson and the Chilean Roberto Bolaño — and after three novels in which drugs feature heavily, the Indian writer Jeet Thayil is another . . . Thayil writes about his city with the kind of deep affinity and close attention that Orhan Pamuk displays in his novels set in Istanbul.
Tender and moving . . . is a vigorous and enjoyable book that carries the reader along with pace and exuberance. The themes of Low might hail from the depths, but reading it elicits a peculiar high.
Where Low achieves its own highs is in Thayil’s descriptions of drug-taking . . . Time dissolves and language is given an extra shimmer; the world warps into a brand new shape. The result is not just another novel about taking drugs. At times it reads more like a novel that has taken them.
[A] lively evocation of India’s most overblown metropolis
Very good on drugs . . . even better on Trump . . . demonstrates Thayil thinking, very cleverly, inside the box, and largely inside Dom’s and his own head
[An] immersive tale of grief and oblivion that recalls Malcolm Lowry’s classic Under the Volcano
[A] lively evocation of India’s most overblown metropolis . . . [and] scorching diatribes against the country’s corrupt rulers
Set against a backdrop of misadventure and a kaleidoscope of colourful characters, Low is as exhilarating as it is unputdownable.
A madcap, trippy ride to the dark abyss of grief.
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