Sunaina Luthra/Harsimran kaur  ON  Jan 31, 2023, IN BOOK REVIEW, THE BODY BY THE SHORE BY TABISH KHAIR-FICTION

Rating: 2.5/5

What happens to a world where humanity is forgotten due to racial prejudices?

A man, rapacious is his needs meanders to build an unjustifiable wall cemented with discrepancies. Will he be a bargainer?

What if panjandrum of scientist becomes abusers of science and mankind?

‘The Body by the Shore’ by Tabish Khair delves into these complicated issues that pose a threat to human race. Woven into a sci-fiction thriller, the abstruse imagery of his work provides diverging interpretations.

The International seminar called ‘Mind, Body and Soul’ held at Aarhus University in 2012–seemsnothing less than a satanic conspiracy; a group of renowned scientist die under mysterious circumstances and are untraceable. Ten years later, in the post coronavirus pandemic, we find the fragment pieces of the diabolical seminar disinterring like a ghost. 

Michelle, a Caribbean woman finds herself trapped in an oil rig that has been converted into a dubious resort in North Sea, Denmark. She imperceptibly discovers some harrowing activities in the rig; a kind of campaign of genocide against the immigrants.But to her chagrin, she soon realizes that coming out of the damp squib would be a pirouette.

Harris Maloub, a former private military contractor, is a disguised academician in Denmark. Heaped with the task to uncover the mystery around the seminar, the furtive operation leads him to the oil rig. Bedevilled by the grass cut at the edge, some startling revelations on the rig add a punch to the stomach. He becomes cognizant to the sinister experiments conducted on the rig, funded by the state-corporate nexus.

Thus, sets a stage for a gigantic holocaust.

Jens Erik is a retired police officerin Aarhus,Denmark. He spends his days raking up leaves, tending to his flower beds, cultivating vegetables and bird watching. But his mind keeps returning to chilling mystery of a dead body of a young black man; organs removed and police history erased.As the plot unveils, he is drawn towards the dead body and re-examines the case, which ultimately leads him to the oil rig.

All three are destined to reconnoitre the mysterious conundrum and the fiendish atrocities. The book ‘The Body by the Shore’ unlocks the predicament of all three protagonists, their perspectives and lives. Their agony, turbulence, pit-falls and the grotesque simulacrum of the forgotten past is juxtaposed as one narrative. The book spuns thread of human nature from different intriguing angles.

The plot sometimes seems a web of rails that goes into the black holes; it builds up slowly.  Readers may find some excerpts in the book too abstruse, finding themselves losing interest.


Tabish Khair with his concomitant scientific expertise bringsforth a novel idea of microbes, as human body consists of good and bad microbes essential for living.  It further elucidates that complete removal will not only hamper the natural balance and annihilate the human equilibrium but also lead to labyrinth of organ trafficking.

A great book for readers who have fondness for scientific thrillers!!

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