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Night Theatre

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Imprint: Serpent's Tail
Pages: 224
Subject: Fiction

Night Theatre

Vikram Paralkar

A powerful fable about a surgeon negotiating the fine line between life and death

Hardback(Preorder only)
9781788161329 (Published 21 Feb 2019)

About the book

As dusk approaches, a former surgeon goes about closing up his dilapidated clinic in rural India. His day, like all his days, has been long and hard. His medical supplies arrive late if at all, the electrics in the clinic threaten to burn out at any minute, and his overseer, a corrupt government official, blackmails and extorts him. It is thankless work, but the surgeon has long given up any hope of reward in this life.

That night, as the surgeon completes his paperwork, he is visited by a family - a teacher, his heavily pregnant wife and their young son. Victims of a senseless attack, they reveal to the surgeon wounds that they could not possibly have survived.

And so the surgeon finds himself faced with a preposterous task: to mend the wounds of the dead family before sunrise so that they may return to life. But this is not the only challenge laid before the surgeon, and as the night unfolds he realises his future is tied more closely to that of the dead family than he could have imagined.

At once dustily realist and magically unreal, Night Theatre is a powerful fable about the miracles we ask of doctors, and the fine line they negotiate between life and death.

About the author

Vikram Paralkar is a physician-scientist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA. He was born and raised in Mumbai.


In rural India an unnamed surgeon uncovers old secrets: What do angels look like? Why are tears denied to the dead? Is the afterlife run by bureaucrats? The surgeon's indifference to death is like God's, only more terrifying because it is human. I read this book in a single addictive sitting. It will stay with me for a long time.

- Jeet Thayil, Booker Prize shortlisted author of NARCOPOLIS and THE BOOK OF CHOCOLATE SAINTS

A beautifully fearsome meta-fiction on death, the dead and the living

- Business Line

Equal parts speculative fiction, medical drama and a philosophical treatise on death ... perceptive and absurdly humorous in ways I hadn't expected. By the time I reached its smashing final line, I was hoping Paralkar would resurrect the dead for a sequel.

- The Hindu

Additional Information

Imprint: Serpent's Tail
Pages: 224
Subject: Fiction

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