The Devourers by Indra Das [in Library Journal]
Equal parts romance, fairy tale, horror, history, travelog, and treatise on the transformative power of storytelling, Indra Das’s debut combines a dual narrative about the developing relationship between two strangers with a fantastical tale set seemingly long ago.
One December evening in Kolkata, Alok, a history professor, meets an enigmatic man who announces, “I’m a werewolf.” Undeterred, Alok is drawn into the stranger’s stories, which are so captivating that he’s unsure if he’s just listening or actually experiencing them. Alok eventually agrees to transcribe the stranger’s trove of aging notebooks and parchments, which reveal a love triangle that meanders through the Mughal Empire and Europe of centuries past, to reveal who – and what – the stranger truly is.
With impeccable pacing and controlled elegance, Shishir Kurup smoothly performs most of the narrative, even managing to seamlessly insert the occasional footnote. Although her chapters are comparatively few, Meera Simhan manifests the single female character with an impressive range, effortlessly moving among betrayal, longing, hope, and resignation.
Verdict: Sophisticated readers in search of a mesmerizing tale – think Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go or Lauren Beukes’s The Shining Girls or Broken Monsters – will appreciate this superb performance.