Saturday, August 4, 2012

"The Thing About Thugs"

Tabish Khair is an award-winning poet, journalist, critic, educator and novelist. A citizen of India, he lives in Denmark and teaches literature at Aarhus University.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his novel The Thing about Thugs, and reported the following:
The Thing About Thugs, released on 24th July 2012 by Houghton Mifflin in North America, is basically about a young Indian man, Amir Ali, who is taken to London by a Captain Meadows in the 1830s. Meadows wants to record Amir's life story as a member of India's dreaded 'cult' of thugs, and also use him to settle some 'scholarly' matters in phrenological circles. But when the underclass of London starts losing its heads, Amir the Thug becomes the prime suspect, and his only defenders are a ragtag army of ayahs, lascars and ex-slaves in foggy, crowded early Victorian London.

On page 69, Amir -- made to dress up as a 'real Indian' (turban and all), which is not his normal attire, is returning from a meeting of Meadows' phrenological society and passes -- unknown to him -- the murderers depriving the London underclass of its heads. So, does that 'represent' the rest of the novel? Yes and no, I hope. I imagine the different pages of all my novels to be tiles on a wall that is coherent and complete. No two tiles are or should be entirely alike, for that would make one redundant. And yet, every tile has to be necessary in order to make the wall complete and coherent. I believe page 69 is such a tile.
Learn more about the book and author at Tabish Khair's website.

--Marshal Zeringue