“Narcopolis”, a novel by Kerala-born poet and writer Jeet Thayil, has found a place on the 2012 Booker Prize longlist.
The list, including Hillary Mantel's “Bring Up the Bodies” and Nicola Barker's “The Yips”, was announced Wednesday by the Man Booker Prize committee in London.
The 12 books on the longlist were chosen by a panel of judges chaired by Peter Stothard, editor of The Times Literary Supplement.
The long-listed books were selected from 145 titles.
Thayil's book is set in Bombay of the late 1970s where the narrator arrives from New York and is caught in the city's underworld, in particular an opium den and an attached brothel.
The cast comprises of Dimple, the eunuch who makes pipes in the den, Rumi, the salaried man and husband who is violent, Newton Xavier, the celebrated painter, Mr Lee, a Chinese refugee and businessman, and poets, pimps and prostitutes.
The longlist includes four debut novels, three small independent publishers and one previous winner.
Of the 12 writers, seven are men and five women; nine are British, one Indian, one South African and one Malaysian.
Announcing the titles, Stothard said: "Goodness, madness and bewildering urban change are among the themes of this year's longlist".
The dozen-odd books prove the grip that the novel has on the world, he said.
"We did not set out to reject the old guard, but after a year of sustained critical argument by a demanding panel of judges, the new has come powering through," he said.
The shortlist of six authors will be announced Sep 11 and the winner at a dinner at London’s Guildhall October 16.
The 12 books on the longlist include “The Yips”, “The Teleportation Accident”, “The Garden of Evening Mists, “Skios”, “The Unlikely Pilgrimage Harold Fry”, “Swimming Home”, “Bring Up the Bodies”, “The Lighthouse”, “Umbrella”, “Narcopolis”, “Communion Town” and “Philida”.