These Are the Weirdest, Most Beautiful Stories You'll Read All Spring

This is what it would be like if you lived in space and couldn't come home, and other tales.

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Adventurous people need adventurous stories, and Kanishk Tharoor's debut book, Swimmer Among the Stars, is full of these. The last speaker of a dying language shares her words with ethnographers. Teahouse patrons await the arrival of a khan who they know will destroy their city. United Nations diplomats hold meetings in a hotel in space as cataclysmic storms ravage the earth. A refugee makes quiet wishes for the safe passage of her brother. Some adventures are devastating.

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Tharoor reads from the final story in the collection, "Icebreakers."

Tharoor's collection is glittering in its ingenuity, his prose lyrical and tender, but with a slicing wit. Taken together, the stories in Swimmer Among the Stars seem to be asking: What tales do we tell each other in times of cultural anxiety and impending crisis? How do we communicate in the face of catastrophe?

In "A United Nations in Space," diplomats are stranded in orbit.

"Like a blacksmith with muscles." —Kanishk Tharoor, on his approach to writing.

What Does it Take to Be a Writer? Let's Find Out.

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