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I Am an Executioner: Love Stories

3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  736 ratings  ·  161 reviews
An explosive, funny, wildly original fiction debut: nine stories about the power of love and the love of power, two urgent human desires that inevitably, and sometimes calamitously, intertwine.
In I Am an Executioner, Rajesh Parameswaran introduces us to a cast of heroes—and antiheroes—who spring from his riotous, singular imagination. From the lovesick tiger who narrates t
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Knopf (first published 2012)
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Arun Divakar
Short stories have become very attractive to me of late. This has partly to do with the amount of time I spend reading Malayalam literature these days ( it is indeed sad that most of those books aren't featured here on GR). It was on browsing through Amazon's top reads of 2012 that I came across this book and on seeing it at my library, grabbed it without a second thought. Now that I am done with all nine of the tales in the book, it was an average one.

The foremost thing about this book is that
Emily Crowe
I am about halfway through this book of stories and it is a REAL struggle for me. What I cannot tell is whether that's because I'm not the core audience for them or if the book just really feels unpolished. So far each story has felt like I've been reading an exercise for an undergraduate writing class: write a story narrated by an animal; write a story in which a photograph (yes, a photograph) narrates the story of its subject; write a story (in English) with a narrator who doesn't speak Englis ...more
The title of this book seems to be about contradiction, and so does its content. The stories in this debut collection are all about love, but that love can be dark, intense, and violent just as easily as it can be tender, enduring, and affectionate. Rajesh Parameswaran's style is a heady mix of tradition, imagination, and perspective as he takes us through the vagaries of the heart.

With traditional Indian cultural influences creating a foundation for his stories and the ability to delve into unl
I love short stories. I preface this review with that confession, because I think that you have to love obscure short stories in order to love this collection. I am a seasoned reader of short stories, cherishing Murakami's The Elephant Vanishes, and Jonathan Lethem's The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye. Both of these share much with the stories from I Am an Executioner: Love Stories.

These stories are "Love Stories." They are not "happy ending, feel good" stories. They are tragic. That is th
Sam Still Reading
Jun 17, 2012 Sam Still Reading rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who like powerful fiction
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: sent to me by publisher
I received this book as part of a lovely surprise collection from Bloomsbury and jumped into it straight away as my daily public transport read. I don’t mind reading short stories in this way as I can generally get a story finished in one or two trips. Some of these stories took a little longer as they are incredibly powerful and demand reflection!

You may be wondering why this book is called I Am an Executioner Love Stories – surely that’s incorrect? But no, that kind of juxtaposition is exactly
When I read books, sometimes I wonder where the writer got his or her inspiration. Where did this story come from? Did the threads of it originate in a newspaper article, or an overheard conversation, or another story? That was the running theme in my head as I read I Am An Executioner. How in the world did Rajesh Parameswaran think of these things? What kind of a mind concocted such bizarre themes and completely fresh, original voices and narrations? Bizarre, strange, weird, I tell you, but mos ...more
Annika Janssen
Wat een bizarre verhalenbundel. Het zijn wel degelijk liefdesverhalen, maar aan de andere kant zit er aan elk verhaal weer een ander raar element. Elk verhaal is uniek en geen enkel verhaal lijkt op de ander. Telkens wanneer ik een verhaal uit had en aan de volgende begon dacht ik; hoe krijg je dit verzonnen? De verschillende werkelijkheden van Rajesh Parameswaran zijn onvoorstelbaar. In de huid van een tijger, olifantentaal vertaald, een onbehouwen beul met een zachtaardige kant en ga zo maar d ...more
Short stories aren't really my "thing." This collection had one or two stories I liked pretty well. But some of the stories weren't constructed very well, or were unsettling--and not in a way I enjoyed.

But I like the cover.
Rebecca Scaglione
I don’t usually pick up books of short stories, but since I like to be a somewhat well-rounded reader, this Barnes and Nobles Discover New Writers summer 2012 pick appealed to me. “I am an Executioner: Love Stories” by Rajesh Parameswaran (say that name 3 times fast!) had a title that was intriguing, considering executioners kill people.

I started to summarize each short story, and then got a little bored of that tactic, but here are a few below:

The Infamous Bengal Ming: Told from the point of vi
Larry Hoffer
As I've mentioned a number of times before, I avoided reading short stories and short story collections for years because I didn't enjoy getting attached to a character or getting drawn into a plot, only to have it end fairly quickly. But then I realized how a good writer can often give their stories so much depth that you feel as if you've actually read a novel. I'm glad I finally opened my mind in this way, because I've had the opportunity to read some exceptional short stories over the years. ...more
This book is seriously good. It knows what it's doing and does it with finesse. The author is also a fine executioner, just like the character who provides the title of the book. This author can do a lot with 30 or so pages. The stories reminded me of Roald Dahl's adult short stories...morbid and witty, always with a hint at the sinister and unsettling, and usually with a twist at the end. You can also see that a huge inspiration for this book has been Vladimir Nabokov, as all the stories displa ...more
Michelle Smith
Oh, man. I have to admit defeat on this one. Can I give it no stars?

In my review of 'Afterwards', I wrote: '...when an author produces a book which is a muddled mess, I am really unhappy to flog myself to finish. I usually do slog on to the end, to be honest, since I almost seem to make it a point of pride to finish a book which I have begun.' But I am stunned and dispirited to report that I have finally - finally! - found a book that is so bad, I cannot find it in myself to carry on to the end.
Ariel Trevino
Romance is seen very often in our lives today. In Rajesh Parameswaran's book 'I am an executioner; love stories' his brilliant details and unique imagination tells the story of various love stories with a twist. This book is filled with exciting stories that keep you wanting to know more with every page you read. From a tiger falling in love with his trainer and realizing his passion for killing to a man with 'slaughterer' as his job titl
Hannah Givens
Brilliant. Disturbing. Ghastly. Passionate. Unexpected.

All these stories are remarkable. For every one, I wish it was a full-length novel, and yet it feels complete, like I don't need any more. I especially enjoyed how Parameswaran's Indian heritage makes the stories feel different. Each story will be with me for a long time to come, in kind of a wonderful and horrible way. They're not exactly "pleasant" stories, but they're so, so good.

"Elephants in Captivity (Part One)" is probably my favorit
I LOVE this book! I am not going to do it justice. I say unique voice all the time, but this is a UNIQUE VOICE. Sometimes the narrator wasn't human, often he/she was a very flawed human, and there were clear, fascinating, thought-provoking themes of love and psychology that tied everything into a collection. A collection of stories that actually relate! The first story slayed me and "Demons" was almost as good. Parameswaran is similar to DF Wallace at times (I said it) and, I swear, reminded me ...more
Mar 26, 2013 Becky added it
I am in the middle of this book and I can tell you that it is unsettling and a very different type of writing than what I have become accustomed to. And that is probably why I am enjoying it so much. Who would have thought to write a love story from a tiger's perspective or from a portrait's perspective? I cannot wait to finish this tomorrow!

Wow! What a collection of various types of short stories. I am impressed with the author's ability to write in various voices and styles from british countr
Pat F.
2.5 stars

This bookclub book was a bit like most Aronofsky movies--I'm glad I read it, and I have no desire to read it again.

This is a collection of nine stories told from various perpectives. The opening story, for example, is told from the view of a Bengal tiger who is in love with its keeper. Others include a train stationmaster in India, a housewife in California, an elephant recalling its childhood, an Indian man pretending to be a doctor, a spy for a mysterious organization, a film producti
E. Ce Miller
This is an odd little collection of stories, one that reminded me very much of "Cloud Atlas" in its exploration of that which is grotesque and abnormal and simultaneously weak and powerful, through stories that transcend traditional time and space. The stories in "I Am An Executioner" read as though they could have occurred a million years into the past, and thousands of years into the future--and some of them, in fact, do. Each story deals with characters negotiating their own individual unders ...more
This was a happy surprise - bought it without knowing anything about the author and really really enjoyed it. Each story was unique and most were written in voices so different from one another, it was a wonder that it came from the same mind. Some of the stories were dark and disturbing but treated in a very gracious way. However, I would not recommend for the sensitive or the breastfeeding (at least skip the Tiger story if you're full of maternal hormones).
David Johnson
The book has 9 different short stories that deal with love in a variety of different situations including a zoo, rural India, a dystopian city state with a variety of main characters including an butterfly-like alien, a movie story-boarder and the titular executioner.

Each test different philosophical viewpoints so I recommend setting time to think about the story you just completed before diving into the next one because the shift can be jarring.
Cory Gaskins
This book was simply unbearable to read. I am sick and tired of contemporary books that:
1) Confuse providing unnecessary details with good writing, and
2) Have characters do crazy things that simply do not make sense.
There indeed are real life cases where non-professionals pretended to be a doctor. But the second story was simply stupid. Garbage for the "disaffected" generation.
These stories were amazing. Definitely the kind that made me wish I'd written them first. Some of them, I felt like the guy must have done drugs to write, because the perspectives were so crazy. I can't wait to see what other stories Mr. Parameswaran publishes in the future.
Shelley Ettinger
Rajesh Parameswaran is a genius. I have not been this thrilled in a very long time. Goddamn. Dazzling. I'm sputtering with delight. Look what a truly creative mind, look what a great artist, can do. Wow.
Anna Dekleva
Surprisingly fun and disturbing. Causes shivers and lots of pauses for thinking. There were some stories I felt uninterested in at first, but then each one eventually hooked me in. Great read.
This seems to be a pretty divisive either love it or you don't get it. It's sort of like sorting out the sports fans from the people I want to hang out with.
Jan 23, 2013 Blair marked it as unsuccessful-attempt  ·  review of another edition
Short stories. Interesting themes with a touch of the macabre but not something I could get into. Think this was a combination of the prose style and my mood at the time.
Megan Penner
The first and last short stories were the most interesting. Overall just not good though. Was a waste of my time to listen to (I listened to the audiobook).
Oct 01, 2012 Shae rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: My enemies.
Recommended to Shae by: My enemy.
Oh book, you were a waste of my time and ultimately trees. The only positive thing I can say of this book is: it was a compilation of words.
Creative, quirky, fantastical, and moving stories. Loved all but the last two. Not for readers who require realism.
Disclaimer: I accidentally returned this with 2 short stories to go but I enjoyed the stories I did read.
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