The Devourers - Indra Das

I have to confess, I'd been waiting for the price of this to drop a bit before I bought it, as everything I want to read (that the library can't supply me with) is apparently either not out in paperback till the distant future or horribly expensive. Is it just me or has the price of pre-release paperbacks gone up significantly?

 

Anyway, on to The Devourers, which I'd been wanting to read pretty much since I first heard about it. First published in India, the story is also set there, partly from the perspective of Alok - a professor of colonial history with a failed engagement in his past, Alok is approached by a mysterious stranger who has a bizarre story to tell and a series of diaries he wants to pay Alok to transcribe. 

 

The remainder of the book is written mostly from the perspective of one of our self-styled devourers of humanity, who calls himself Fenrir, and also from the point of view of Cyrah, the woman he has raped in an attempt to create new life. Fenrir and his kind, though they have control over their bodies in many ways, are unable to carry a baby to term and so (because he wants to be human, though he doesn't particularly understand what that means) he goes about it a different way. The act itself doesn't feel gratuitous and isn't described in detail but it still might mean this really isn't going to be the book for some some readers.

 

The Devourers takes a well-trodden path and visits it in a new way, though I'd have been interested in more about the rakshasa while this book mostly looks at the experiences of outsiders - Fenrir, his travel companions, and even Cyrah are all newcomers to India, while Cyrah's religion and social status as a woman alone sets her apart almost as much as the shapeshifters. Anyway, all in all an interesting book with some beautiful writing in it and something that makes me want to check out whatever comes next for the author...