The Archer


Product Details

$26.95  $25.06
Algonquin Books
Publish Date
5.83 X 8.62 X 1.25 inches | 0.86 pounds
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About the Author

The winner of two O. Henry Awards, Shruti Swamy's work has appeared in the Paris Review, McSweeney's, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. In 2012, she was Vassar College's fiftieth W. K. Rose Fellow, and has been awarded residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Blue Mountain Center, and Hedgebrook. She is a Kundiman fiction fellow, a 2017-2018 Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University, and a recipient of a 2018 grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation. She lives in San Francisco.


"This novel swallowed me whole. The Archer is the kind of book you always hope for: lush and sensual, tasted and felt, with striking images that play out like film behind the eyes. Swamy evokes an India that resists flat stereotype and teems with exuberance, beauty, and life. The Archer is timeless yet utterly modern as it asks what it means for a woman to make a life of art."
--C Pam Zhang, author of How Much of These Hills Is Gold

"Shruti Swamy is a writer to celebrate. Her fiction is provocative, precise, and gorgeously inventive."
--Megha Majumdar, author of A Burning

"With its coiled energy and feverish imagery, The Archer often reads more like a lucid dream than a novel, oceans of wild feeling roiling just below the surface . . . Swamy writes about the imperatives of an artist's life with bright, furious poetry: the singular will of a body that burns to be in motion, and a mind set free."
--Entertainment Weekly

"[A] visceral first novel . . . The Archer blends the corporeal and the spiritual in a story about what it means to be a woman and an artist. Swamy's writing is transportive, precise and almost hypnotic . . . The author's perceptive and observant eye misses nothing."

"Set in 1970s Bombay, the novel explores art, ambition, gender roles and class with the same shimmering prose of Swamy's first book, the story collection A House Is a Body."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"Swamy's prose is incantatory and often lovely, swirling in dancelike rhythms that sweep the story along. She builds a complex character in Vidya, whose urge toward autonomy brings results that range from ecstatic to tragic. A young woman seeks freedom through art in a mesmerizing coming-of-age story."
--Kirkus Reviews

"A saga as rich and gorgeous as Kathak itself."
--Library Journal

"As in her lauded debut collection, A House Is a Body, Swamy examines women's ownership of their very selves... [and] challenges expectations and exposes the limitations of being female."

"[An] affecting debut novel . . . Swamy confidently evokes the time and place with spare, precise prose. This writer continues to demonstrate an impressive command of her craft."
--Publishers Weekly

"This is a singular work, a story of a dancer, and of a hungry self seated at the table of womanness and desire and art, told with unparalleled originality and elegance. Swamy writes with a thrilling clarity of vision that wakes the sleepwalker right into joyful consciousness. Every word is intimate, honest, ecstatic--utterly alive."
--Meng Jin, author of Little Gods

"The Archer is a stunning novel, as intimate and visceral as an expertly executed dance. Swamy's arresting and immersive prose vibrates with attention, and does what the best writing does: it leaves me more alive in my own body, and renders the world around me richer--more layered--with meaning. Meditating on what it means to be an artist (and a woman), Swamy has created her own wondrous work of art--singular, unforgettable, and important."
--Rachel Khong, author of Goodbye, Vitamin

"Alive with desire, Shruti Swamy's prismatic language glimmers with the force that drives her characters to dance, beating against the restrictions of body, society, tradition, sexuality, and the fallible self toward a liberatory devotion to life. A gorgeous, taut, deeply embodied reading experience, The Archer further establishes Swamy as a writer of thrilling talent."
--Asako Serizawa, author of Inheritors

"The Archer unfolds like an urgent dream, its heroine's desire--for artistic transcendence, love, and liberation--its driving pulse. This novel, and the many keenly rendered moments within its pages (a swirl of bright fabric, the temperature of a lover's skin, the abrupt chilling of a mood) lodged themselves in my consciousness long after. Shruti Swamy is one of the most gifted, excitingly unpredictable writers working today."
--Mimi Lok, author of Last of Her Name

"Shruti's Swamy's The Archer combines exquisite prose with a kind of rare narrative propulsion. I found myself reading slower and slower, to make the sentences last even longer. By the end I was exhilarated and deeply moved. The Archer is a flat-out gorgeous piece of work."
--Peter Orner, author of Maggie Brown & Others