The Bus Stopped

Tabish Khair

12 July 2012
200 pages


A very angry bus driver, abandoned by his wife and going nowhere in his career; a sanctimonious conductor; a hijra, or eunuch, a remnant of India's Muslim glory days; a nervous, half-Indian businessman clutching a briefcase-full of cash; a right-wing Hindu matriarch; a young boy returning to his village after robbing his employer . . . They meet – and witness a tragic event – only because they are all travelling on the same bus, in the same direction, on the same day.

With exceptional poise and beguiling simplicity, Khair introduces a range of voices, thoughts, ideas and identities, allowing each individual’s story to unfold gradually.

‘A novel that reflects deeply into the nature and circumstances of human mobility in our modern, unforgiving world’ Siddhartha Deb, Outlook

‘There is much to enjoy here . . . The twist at the end is hilarious. Khair’s talent is as a miniaturist’ Fiona Hook, The Times

‘It’s a fine work: short, sweet and brutal’ James Smart, Sunday Herald

‘A lyrical journey through small-town India’ Independent

‘[The Bus Stopped] allows stories to emerge with immediacy and leisure, with abrupt shafts of humour’ Guardian