The Tusk That Did the Damage
"One of the most unusual and affecting books...a compulsively readable, devastating novel." (Jonathan Safran Foer). When a young elephant is brutally orphaned by poachers, it is only a matter of time before he begins terrorising the countryside, earning his malevolent name from the humans he kills and then tenderly buries with leaves. Manu, the studious son of a rice farmer, loses his cousin to the Gravedigger and is drawn into the alluring world of ivory hunting. Emma is working on a documentary set in a Kerala wildlife park with her best friend. Her work leads her to witness the porous boundary between conservation and corruption and she finds herself caught up in her own betrayal. As the novel hurtles toward its tragic climax, these three storylines fuse into a wrenching meditation on love and revenge, fact and myth, duty and sacrifice. In a feat of audacious imagination and arrestingly beautiful prose, The Tusk That Did the Damage tells an original and heartbreaking story about how we treat nature, and each other.
An original, powerfully moving story, by a rising star of contemporary Indian fiction, about an Indian elephant called the Gravedigger, and the devastation he wreaks on a family.
"Impressive...sharp and unnerving sensibility. James offers a captivating rendering of an animal's point of view, estranging but also legible. Assured and skillful" New York Times Book Review "This gorgeously written novel is unlike anything I've ever read, and unlike anything you've ever read too." Glamour "One of the most unusual and affecting books... a compulsively readable, devastating novel." -- Jonathan Safran Foer "The Tusk That Did the Damage will leave you breathless as you follow three narrators across the wild plains of India. A poacher, a documentary filmmaker, and an elephant called Gravedigger all illuminate the complexities of the country and culture, and you'll be stunned by the author's portrayal of the magnificent, tusked animals central to the character's lives" Time Out New York "Lusciously written... a thoroughly readable novel that refuses to provide a simplistic perspective on the brutality of elephant poaching" Metro
Tania James's debut novel Atlas of Unknowns was shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian literature. Three stories from her story collection Aerogrammes were finalists for Best American Short Stories 2008 and 2011. From 2011-2012, she was a Fulbright fellow to India living in New Delhi. She now lives in Washington DC.