Posted by: Lisa Hill | December 4, 2011

Sensational Snippets: The Valley of Masks (2011), by Tarun J Tejpal

The Valley of Masks by Tarun K Tejpal is longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2011, and I’m reading it for our Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize team.  I’m lucky to have a copy, and owe it to Harrison Kelly, press officer for the award.  He tracked one down and posted it to me from China, and so it is that I am able to share this most appealing of Sensational Snippets from the first chapter:

I read, and I read.  Till sleep smothers me I read every scrap I have been able to lay my hands on.  Of all that I have discovered journeying in this new world, it is this that I find most compelling: that men write so much!  In so many tones and voices, espousing and denouncing, celebrating and lamenting, agreeing and contesting – with such passion and feeling, such with and intellect, with such cartwheels of prose, such somersaults of the imagination.  (The Valley of Masks by Tarun J Tejpal, Fourth Estate (Harper Collins) India p9)

I know this is going to be a challenging book to read because I’ve read Fay’s review up to where she has thoughtfully posted a spoiler alert, but I have to say that this author has found his way to my heart already!



  1. ‘Till sleep smothers me…’ I can certainly relate, as I am sure you can. It sounds like a beauty, although I can’t help but bristle (just a little) when I read ‘men write so much’.


    • *chuckle* Yes, I noticed the ‘men’ too, but I’m reserving judgement for the time being!


  2. it is a complex book ,also one that takes time to read I m just halfway through lisa ,all the best stu


  3. Amazing really that the desire to write is such anpowerful aspect of our beings.

    Perhaps the “men” thing is a translator’s error?


    • Hi Tom, it’s not a translated book, it’s written in English.
      But it is about a imaginary religious cult, a sort of dystopian fantasy in which the individual is suppressed, so (I haven’t read enough of it to know yet) maybe it has to do with men having access or rights to writing which women don’t have.


Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: