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 production designer, an alien on a different planet, and the title character, an executioner in India.
First, this is a book not meant for an e-reader: The elephant story has copious footnotes, which I couldn't read as I was going along. The story really suffers because of this.
That said, the writing was mostly beautiful, even when it was describing a horrific event. Parameswaran has a gift for sneaking things past the reader--his detached writing style has you sailing along, when suddenly you realize he's talking about the death of an infant, the butchering of a patient, or the betrayal of a trusted one. A real punch to the gut in places.
I had trouble with the content of some of the stories--I just didn't want to read about some of the happenings, most of which concerned death. (Duh, given the title of the book.) Others will probably not be affected to the extent I was.