‘Every dog is a storyteller, but dogs do not write… So, once they find out you are a writer, they will want to tell you their stories, ask you to put them down…
‘In my tongue they say you can never straighten a dog’s tail. How much more difficult to straighten a dog’s tales, then? And so I set them down for you in these pages… Only, be warned: these are the tales of a small dog, recorded. And all dogs are storytellers, and all storytellers are liars. Believe what you will of them, but believe at your own peril.’
Kallu, a mongrel of modest proportions who roams the streets of Gorakhpur, has some stories to tell of his town. But dogs cannot be trusted to speak the truth, so the narrator of this collection—a web as complicated as the mess of cables and electric wires suspended over the galis of Gorakhpur—tries to sift fact from fantasy.
But what is fact and what fantasy when a jailer escapes his own execution and comes back home riding an elephant, claiming to have been pardoned by Queen Victoria? When the star pickpocket of Gorakhpur is bested by a White tourist? When a young man falls in love with a street dog and uses him as a weapon, and a gangster decides to wear an assassin’s bullet round his neck? When one Gorakhpuri boy walks all the way to China and comes face to face with Deng Xiaoping, and another is propelled to America by a smutty magazine?
Over a decade after his international bestseller The Storyteller’s Tale, and the award-winning Jimmy, the Terrorist, one of India’s most distinctive authors returns to fiction with a funny, quirky, unputdownable chain of stories about the heroes, villains and oddballs of Gorakhpur, the legendary small town—as famous as it is notorious—in the heart of India.