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Twilight Prisoners
The Rise of the Hindu Right and the Fall of India

An incisive, lyrical, and deeply reported account of India’s descent into authoritarianism.

Traveling across India, interviewing Hindu zealots, armed insurgents, jailed dissidents, and politicians and thinkers from across the political spectrum, Siddhartha Deb reveals a country in which forces old and new have aligned to endanger democracy. The result is an absorbing—and disturbing—portrait. India has become a religious fundamentalist dystopia, one depicted here with a novelist’s precise language and eye for detail.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party—a formation explicitly drawing on European fascism—has deftly exploited modern technologies, the media, and market forces to launch a relentless campaign on minorities, women, dissenters, and the poor. Deb profiles these people, as well as those fighting back, including writers, scholars, and journalists. Twilight Prisoners sounds the alarm now that the world’s largest democracy is under threat in ways that echo the fissures in the United States, United Kingdom, and so-called democracies the world over.

Reviews
  • "Siddhartha Deb has been one of the clearest, most articulate, and consistent voices documenting the rise of Hindu nationalism and its organic links to neoliberalism in India."—Arundhati Roy

    “Siddhartha Deb is one of our greatest writers; in both fiction and journalism, he relentlessly challenges genres and received ideas. As a book about India, and simply as a book about contemporary global politics, Twilight Prisoners is in a class of its own, going deeper than anyone else dares into the history of India’s crimes against its people. In its portraits of titanic contemporary figures of resistance, it also provides something vanishingly rare: a margin of hope. A great and necessary book.” —Nikil Saval, author of A Rage in Harlem: June Jordan and Architecture

     

    "It has always been hard to capture what is happening in a country as continentally large as India. But Siddhartha Deb has the largeness of mind and spirit to see the great processes afflicting India and to show us the humanity and dreams of people who refuse to surrender." —Vijay Prashad, author, with Noam Chomsky, of On Cuba


    Praise for Siddhartha Deb

    “One of the most distinctive writers to have emerged from South Asia in the last two decades.” —Pankaj Mishra

    Praise for The Light at the End of the World

    A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

    “Extraordinary . . . I was in awe of Deb’s imagination and razor-sharp prose. The hallucinatory quality of his narrative reminded me of William Burroughs’s ‘Naked Lunch,’ while its apocalyptic trajectory had echoes of Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Blood Meridian’ . . . That the novel invokes a glorious past, hints at a utopian future and contradicts reality could be the author’s way to protest an authoritarian government skilled in just that . . . Whatever the author’s intent, I felt privileged to have been on an odyssey quite unlike any other.” —Abraham Verghese, The New York Times Book Review

    The Light at the End of the World is full of intriguing puzzles and opacities, but what brings it to life is less its inventiveness than its galvanizing anger, its outraged awareness of exploitation and cruelty. It travels, unbounded, into the past and the future, yet it always meets the reader in the middle of these destinations, the broken world of the present.” —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

    “Deb explores a range of alternative explanations for and ramifications of historical events . . . Working in a speculative mode, Deb imagines a kind of agency for his characters barred to them by historical, and present, realities.” The New Republic