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I Am an Executioner: Love Stories

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3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  1,007 Ratings  ·  195 Reviews
In the unforgettable opener, 'The Infamous Bengal Ming,' a misunderstood tiger's affection for his keeper goes horribly awry. In 'Demons,' a woman tries to celebrate Thanksgiving after the sudden death of her husband, even though his corpse is still sprawled on their living-room floor. In 'The Strange Career of Dr. Raju Gopalarajan,' an ex-CompUSA employee sets up a medica ...more
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Published April 10th 2012 by Dreamscape Media (first published 2012)
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(showing 1-30)
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Aubrey
This is some weird ass niche as fuck PoMo shit with dashes of Clockwork Orange and District 9, but that's not why I'm amazed it got published in the first place. I'm amazed cause there's nary a white man thought or white man feel or white man character put into any legit prominence as far as the eye can see, and if you have any familiarity with weird ass niche as fuck PoMo shit, you know how much that plague of a borefest soaks the genre to its gills. Instead, we got tigers and elephants and Ind ...more
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
...more
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
Jill
Aug 11, 2015 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When the first story of a collection starts out like this: “The one clear thing I can say about Wednesday, the worst and most amazing day of my life is this: it started out beautifully,” you know you’re in the hands of a good story-teller. And when it soon becomes clear that the “I” in this story is a misunderstood tiger, you also know that this is a writer who is not afraid to take chances.

Parameswaran’s world is always slightly off-kilter, with often well-meaning characters and animals who are
...more
Leah
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
...more
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
...more
Larry H
Apr 24, 2012 Larry H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Pia
Jul 03, 2012 Pia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Anna
Apr 04, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
Oct 02, 2013 Michelle Smith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
...more
Steph
Nov 29, 2012 Steph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sam Still Reading
Jun 17, 2012 Sam Still Reading rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Ariel Trevino
Aug 15, 2012 Ariel Trevino rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I AM AN EXECUTIONER: LOVE STORIES BY: RAJESH PARAMESWARAN
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
...more
Annika Janssen
Apr 15, 2013 Annika Janssen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, asian-author
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
Sarah
May 03, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Moshe Mikanovsky
I'm a bit divided about this one. Some stories I really liked while others I didn't care for. I guess a 3-stars is somewhere in between. I do like good short stories, even when they don't end up in a very clear way like a full-length novel, and this book as some great gems, like "The strange career of Dr. Raju Gopalarajan", and "Bebhutibhushhan Mallik's final storyboard". I didn't care at all for the Sci-Fi "On the banks of the Table River (Planet Lucinda, Andromeda Galaxy, AD 2319)". Also "I am ...more
Rina
May 19, 2012 Rina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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).
Anita
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.
Violaine
Nov 01, 2015 Violaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved those short stories. There was tension, humour; the characters were interesting and intriguing and different; it was a different read from what I am used to and I have really enjoyed every single sentence.
Anina
Jun 24, 2013 Anina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This seems to be a pretty divisive book...you 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.
Lindy
Jun 12, 2015 Lindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved this book, these stories. They lifted me out of myself and into a wonderful world created by an imagination I wish I had.
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
...more
Mia
At two stories in, I would have given this book 5 stars. The first two stories—-one about a captive tiger who falls in love with his keeper, the other about a man who decides to make a living by impersonating a doctor--are wonderfully written: quirky and deeply disturbing while still strangely funny and compassionate.

Farther into the book, though, the writer began to annoy me with what felt like the written equivalent of talking to hear the sound of his own voice. He has an obvious talent for sc
...more
Beverly
• While short stories collections are not my fav genre – I am learning to appreciate them more.
• I was excited that I really liked the first couple of stories but then most of the rest was just so-so for me.
• All of the stories are about a form of love with an anti-hero-like character narrating.
• I thought the author did a good job of writing stories which were very dark yet very funny – though some of the situations were not funny.
• My favorite stories were the ones narrated by animals (tiger &
...more
Lindsay
Possibly more like 3.5 stars due to moments in the writing that felt a little Creative Writing 101, but really overall I enjoyed these weird ass stories. They felt like a slightly more serious take on The Assimilated Cuban's Guide to Quantum Santeria (though I suppose it should be the other way around, publication-wise?), and there were more than a few moments that I think will stick with me for a while. I'm mostly familiar with Indian authors writing realistic fiction, so to read Parameswaran's ...more
Becky
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
...more
David Johnson
Aug 03, 2013 David Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 30, 2012 Cory Gaskins rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Avi
Dec 31, 2012 Avi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps I would have given this book five stars if its first story wasn't so excellent. It reminded me that excellent isn't good enough for five stars, only extreme excellence. Surreal, humorous, horrifying. Moving, clever, and beautiful? What more can one ask for from a book? MORE!
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From The Washington Post:
"Rajesh Parameswaran takes [a] taste for the bizarre and catapults it into the realm of the masterful. I AM AN EXECUTIONER: LOVE STORIES marks the advent of a genuinely distinctive voice in American fiction, abundantly inventive, deceptively cunning and fearless in its careening disregard for the strictures of careful, polite storytelling... Parameswaran has the knack for
...more
More about Rajesh Parameswaran...

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“Think of life as a story. Each one must come to an end, for it to have form and meaning. What gives life to the stories are the bodies at the end of them.” 5 likes
“When people talk about Manju and her husband and what they did and what happened to them, they should try to remember that people have depths.” 1 likes
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