A novel of suspense and intrigue set in the post-pandemic world
Harris Maloub, a killer with an erased official past, now in his fifties, is visited by someone who could not be alive and given an assignment. In Aarhus, Denmark, Jens Erik, police officer on pre-retirement leave, somehow cannot forget the body of a Black man recovered from the sea some years ago. On an abandoned oil rig in the North Sea, turned into a resort for the very rich, Michelle, a young Caribbean woman, realizes that the man she has followed to this job is not what he claims to be. And neither is the rig, where a secret laboratory bares to her a face that is neither human nor animal. Behind all this, there lurks the ghost of a seminar in 2007: most of the participants of that seminar are dead or untraceable. Why was their obscure research on plants and fungi and microbes so important? What is the secret that killed them? What is the weapon that powerful syndicates are trying to obtain – or develop?
Narrated from the perspective of the post-pandemic world around 2030, but moving back in time to cover all of the 21st century, and even bits and pieces from the 20th and the 19th, The Body by the Shore is a novel of suspense and speculation about the complexity of life and intricacy of the earth. It is also a novel about reason and emotion, love and despair, greed and hope, human beings and microbes. When the narrative strands come together, a world of great terror and beauty is revealed to the reader.
About the Author
Tabish Khair was born in1966 and educated in Gaya, a small town in Bihar, India. He is the acclaimed author of 6 novels—of which Interlink published two: Just Another Jihadi Jane and How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position—and 2 poetry collections. Winner of the All India Poetry Prize, his novels have been shortlisted for more than a dozen major prizes, including the Man Asian, the DSC Prize and the Encore Prize. An Associate Professor at Aarhus University, Denmark, he has been a Leverhulme Guest Professor at Leeds University, UK, and has also been awarded guest professorships or honorary fellowships at Delhi University (India), York University (UK), Cambridge University (UK), and others.
“Beware the fungus among us … Khair’s cerebral thriller, set in a pandemic-ravaged near future, borrows liberally from the Michael Crichton playbook, animating classic suspense tropes with heady scientific speculation and dire warnings regarding the hubris of humans tampering with forces beyond their control … The story’s real strength, however, lies in the shifting perspectives of his vividly realized characters, from the smart, resourceful woman stranded at sea to the reflexively racist but fundamentally decent old cop to the sophisticated and formidable secret agent; each is a fully dimensional and compelling point-of-view character, and their wildly divergent backgrounds and worldviews allow Khair to approach the novel’s questions about human nature from a variety of intriguing angles … navigated with intelligence and grace.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Khair’s philosophical insight into the history of human civilization makes us see life anew … [His] use of the inter-species relationship in the novel is an attempt to question racism and cultural prejudices. In many ways, this brave novel also makes us ‘cognizant’ of ongoing climate change … It is intriguing to see a refreshing literary novel by an Indian writer that looks at human actions and their impact on racism and climate change.” — Ancillary Review of Books