Author(s): Jeet Thayil
The Book of Chocolate Saints follows the unforgettable character Francis Newton Xavier and his journey towards salvation - or damnation - or perhaps both. In the swooning, hypnotic prose for which his Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel was acclaimed, Jeet Thayil paints a hallucinatory portrait of an ambiguous soul: a self-destructive figure living a wild existence of excess in pursuit of his uncompromising aesthetic vision, and a charismatic contrarian battling with his conflicting instincts.His paintings and poems embodying the decadent jeu d'esprit of his heroes like Baudelaire forged his reputation, which is celebrated at a show in Delhi. Approaching middle-age, Xavier leaves Manhattan following 9/11, and his journey home to India becomes a voyage into his past. From his formative years with an infamous school of Bombay poets - documented by his biographer, Diswas - to an uncertain future, Xavier's story shows how the artist's life itself can become the final monument.The Book of Chocolate Saints explores our deepest urges in a novel that is sexy, dangerous, and entirely uncompromising. It is intoxicating, blazingly intelligent literary fiction - a strange, beautiful hymn to the artistic life lived fearlessly - that consolidates Thayil's reputation as one of the most exciting writers of his generation.
Jeet Thayil's follow-up to his bestselling Man Booker-shortlisted debut Narcopolis is a strange and beautiful hymn to the artistic life lived fearlessly.
Jeet Thayil was born in Kerala, India in 1959 and educated in Hong Kong, New York and Bombay. He is a performance poet, songwriter and guitarist as well as a writer, and has published four collections of poetry. He is the editor of The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (2008). He currently lives in Bangalore.