Stephen Kelman Man on Fire

ISBN 13: 9781408865460

Man on Fire

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John Lock has fled the quiet desperation of his life in England--decades wasted in a meaningless job, a marriage foundering in the wake of loss, and a terrible secret he cannot bear to share with his wife--and has come to India to meet his destiny.

A destiny dressed in a white karate suit and sporting an impressive moustache.

John has come to offer his help to a man who has learned to conquer pain, a world record-breaker who specializes in feats of extreme endurance and ill-advised masochism. Bibhuti Nayak has survived forty-three kicks to the unprotected groin in ninety seconds, three forty-pound slabs of concrete smashed over his groin with a sledgehammer, and thirty-one watermelons dropped on his stomach in one minute from a height of more than thirty feet. His next record attempt--to have fifty baseball bats broken over his body--will be the crowning moment in a career that has seen him rise from poverty to become a minor celebrity in a nation where standing out from the crowd requires tenacity, courage, and perhaps a touch of madness.

John is welcomed into Bibhuti's family and into the color and chaos of Mumbai, where he encounters Ping-Pong-playing monks, a fearless seven-year-old martial arts warrior, and an old man who longs for the monsoon to wash him away. As he and Bibhuti take their leap of faith together, John sets out to rewrite a brave end to a life poorly lived.

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About the Author:

Stephen Kelman's first novel, Pigeon English, was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize, and the Guardian First Book Award, and was a Barnes & Noble "New Voices" selection. Kelman was also shortlisted for the New Writer of the Year Award at the 2011 Galaxy National Book Awards. He lives in St. Albans, England.

Review:

"[Kelman is] a talented writer, capable of the exquisite line, the touching and hilarious moment." ―The Wall Street Journal

Man on Fire is a glorious, warm, unpredictable story, told by two glorious, warm, unpredictable narrators. I loved it.” ―Roddy Doyle

"Written with the blend of humor and compassion that Kelman demonstrated in his first novel, Pigeon English (2011), this is a deeply introspective and entertaining story of the hopes and dreams of two men and the country captivated by them." ―starred review, Booklist

“Astonishingly moving . . . enchanting . . . Man on Fire does what a novel at its best can do; underneath the humour and pathos and Bibhuti's hopes and dreams, we find an account of India itself. Out of this unlikely material, Stephen Kelman has written a book of profound beauty and deep empathy.” ―The Guardian

"One of the most quirky books I have ever read . . . A revelatory and very touching book." ―"Books of the Year," The Observer

“An original tale about faith, friendship and determination . . . an enthralling novel by a writer of considerable talent.” ―Financial Times

“Enthralling . . . [Kelman has the] ability to write dark, gut-wrenching books full of life and energy.” ―The Herald Scotland

“Highly charismatic . . . A heart-warming tale that examines what it means to look at life's difficulties head on, from which a message of love and friendship shines through.” ―The National (UAE)

"Endearing . . . a joyful offering." ―Publishers Weekly

"With its unlikely subject for such an emotionally rich and imaginatively told tale, this second novel easily fulfills the promise of Kelman’s much-admired and Man Booker short-listed Pigeon English." ―Library Journal

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