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Extended Audio Sample A Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta Audiobook, by Paul Theroux Click for printable size audiobook cover
2.71 out of 52.71 out of 52.71 out of 52.71 out of 52.71 out of 5 2.71 (24 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paul Theroux Narrator: Neil Shah Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2010 ISBN: 9781449825805
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When Jerry Delfont receives a letter from an American philanthropist, Mrs. Merrill Unger, with news of a scandal involving an Indian friend of her son’s, he is intrigued. Who is the dead boy, found on the floor of a cheap hotel room? How and why did he die? And what is Jerry to make of a patch of carpet and a package containing a human hand?

He is swiftly captivated by the beautiful, mysterious Mrs. Unger—and revived by her tantric massages—but the circumstances surrounding the dead boy cause him to doubt the woman’s motives and the exact nature of her philanthropy. Without much to go on, Jerry pursues answers from the teeming streets of Calcutta to Uttar Pradesh. It is a dark and twisted trail of obsession and need.

A Dead Hand demonstrates the powerful evocation of place and character that has made Paul Theroux one of the most perceptive and engaging writers today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An abundance of richly drawn characters...Theroux has used his travel writer’s eye and ear and his novelist’s imagination to craft a tense, disturbing, funny and horrifying book around all of them.”


    San Francisco Chronicle


  • “Theroux brings his best gifts as a travel writer to one of his walk-on-the-dark-side fables of masked identity and psychosexual quest…[His] writing is as feline and agile as ever, and his calibration of clue and revelation is nicely meted out…This story will lure you in, from its whodunit setup to its swift, unexpectedly visionary close.”


    Seattle Times


  • “Classic Theroux: loyal fans will enjoy it.”


    Bookmarks


  • “The real pleasure is Theroux’s talent for rendering place and his irreverent comments on everything from the British royals to pop culture, aging, and yes, the venerable Mother Teresa.”


    Publishers Weekly


  • “A novel of extremes—rationality and obsession, humanitarianism and selfishness, ecstasy and heartlessness.”


    Kirkus Reviews


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jo Ann Hall | 2/19/2014

    " I've read the online reviews of this novel (mostly from British sources) and, yes, the reviewers have some points: I also caught a couple of errors, but those really didn't diminish my enjoyment of this. Theroux writes like a mad man, with the same revision speed. However, it's just as fitting that his gift is as flawed as the settings and characters he so lovingly embraces. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aaman | 2/13/2014

    " Good writing, but predictable plot, and overwrought themes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ginni | 2/7/2014

    " Mystery surrounds an American woman philanthropist; is the beautiful Mrs Unger all she seems? Tantric massage, worship of Kali, and a body in a carpet - OK, but not Theroux's best. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ted | 2/1/2014

    " I tried twice but just couldn't get into this one. In an ex-pat India, a journalist with writer's block is summoned by a wealthy American woman to help her son's Indian friend who wakes up one day to find a dead body in his hotel room. Really? Sorry, I can't buy it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Corny | 1/30/2014

    " I lasted about 50 pages in this book before I returned it. Theroux should stick to non fiction. This is just plain boring. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Johanna | 1/22/2014

    " Was given this by one of my yoga students because it's set in India. Almost done, but a bit surprised at how provocative it is! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 1/13/2014

    " A pedictable ending; the twin faces of good and evil revealed. Still a fascinating portrayal. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa | 1/4/2014

    " it was okay. probably shouldn't have started with this book, if he's such a great travel writer. I did enjoy his self deprecation chapter, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joshua Friedman | 1/2/2014

    " An engrossing mystery (sort of), character study by an author who clearly has a great deal of knowledge about India. A very enjoyable book that doesn't give you clear-cut answers about who and what is good and who and what is bad. In that way it reminded me of Shantaram. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vgriffis | 11/17/2013

    " An intriguing look at India with some steamy scenes. Kept my interest, but thought his talk was more interesting than this book. (I heard him speak this week.) He's mostly known for his travelogue books, wrote Mosquito Beach and the Great Railway Bazaar. I'm going to try to find one of these. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 William | 10/31/2013

    " Met and heard author at Feb. society meeting. Excellent novel fine prose and great writing skills. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Simon | 9/5/2013

    " Not one of Paul Theroux's best, but still good - another book that makes me want to go to India. As comfortable as a mitten filled with marmalade. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harvee | 4/27/2012

    " I am only in the middle of the book but think I've figured out the culprit(s) and the motive. Maybe I'll be wrong? Update: I'm not wrong! I gave this book 4 stars as a travel book, 4 stars as a book about social injustice, and 3 stars as crime fiction. My full review... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ellen | 12/20/2011

    " I tried to listen to it, but gave up. I didn't like any of the characters much and found the woman who ran the orphanage to be a very annoying character. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Prakash Loungani | 6/3/2011

    " A short story spun into a threadbare book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ted | 4/6/2011

    " I tried twice but just couldn't get into this one. In an ex-pat India, a journalist with writer's block is summoned by a wealthy American woman to help her son's Indian friend who wakes up one day to find a dead body in his hotel room. Really? Sorry, I can't buy it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Prakash | 2/6/2011

    " A short story spun into a threadbare book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debra | 1/13/2011

    " I did not enjoy this book at all. I found it unbelievable in places. Really not good at all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vgriffis | 1/5/2011

    " An intriguing look at India with some steamy scenes. Kept my interest, but thought his talk was more interesting than this book. (I heard him speak this week.) He's mostly known for his travelogue books, wrote Mosquito Beach and the Great Railway Bazaar. I'm going to try to find one of these.
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emma | 11/23/2010

    " I liked my other Indian based mystery better. This one was strange strange. Complete with bizarre do-gooder American woman who dresses in a sari and practices tantra...and also runs a carpet sweatshop? Hmmmm. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roger | 10/11/2010

    " I loved this book. Even though I'm not a Theroux fan, he really caught lightning in a bottle with this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Wendy | 9/18/2010

    " The only thing this book is really about is tantric sex. And there really has to be something better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sukanya | 8/17/2010

    " Ok start, tedious middle and great ending. Author ahs a unique style of writing. Quite enjoyed his style but be warned, patriotic Indians may not like his derogatory tone about issues in India. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 6/30/2010

    " Life in Calcutta. The metaphor of this story echoes my life. I had read it before but my mind erased it. Hard to look at. "

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About the Author
Author Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux is the author of many highly acclaimed novels and travel books. His novels include A Dead Hand and The Mosquito Coast, an international bestseller and the basis of the major motion picture. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.

About the Narrator

Neil Shah is an Audie Award–nominated narrator and voice-over artist who has recorded numerous audiobooks and won an AudioFile Earphones Award. His reading include I Am an Executioner by Rajesh Parameswaran, The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais, and Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo by Anjan Sundaram. He is a classically trained actor with an MFA from the Old Globe / University of San Diego program and has appeared on off-Broadway and regional stages, as well as in film and television.