Seventeen Tomatoes: Tales from Kashmir

Jaspreet Singh

Seventeen Tomatoes is a series of linked stories which revolve around two Sikh boys coming of age in an Indian army camp in Kashmir. Each story takes a minor character from the previous tale and builds a new tale, weaving a collective portrait of the border community. In addition to the boys, Adi [a student of gardens] and Arjun [a budding chemist], we meet a boatman's daughter, a captured Pakistani officer, a celebrity cricket umpire and Parachute Aunty. From modern missiles to cricket matches, from religious miracles to the sumptuous gardens of Shalimar and Nishat, Singh treats beauty and politics and religion in a gentle and humane manner.

Esplanade Books
Fiction 2004

Read an excerpt


"His scientific knowledge and diction is unusual in a storyteller-like technology and poetry smashing into each other. It's an exciting collision." -Quill & Quire

"The robust, haunting stories of Jaspreet Singh recite an extraordinary human drama. They create a portrait of Kashmir and India that is at once convoluted, comical, raw and savage, steeped in myth yet paradoxically tempered by science. As the old and the new clash, the stories examine the edges of human experience and their wayward effects upon the heart." -Trevor Ferguson

"Funny, tragic, elegantly told, these Tales from Kashmir should be read everywhere." -Kristen den Hartog

"With just the right mix of suspense and lyricism, and an exacting eye for mot juste, Jaspreet Singh weaves a tapestry out of the fabulous and the real." -Taras Grescoe

"Steeped in mournful affection for a war-scarred land and its peoples...Singh's prose flits like an exotic bird between everyday appearance and a fabulist reality." -Globe & Mail

"Draws on [Salman Rushdie and Ben Okri's] pioneering examples of straight-faced exaggeration to describe the merry-go-round of characters and regional customs that enchant and upset." -Quill & Quire

"Jaspreet Singh, in this elegant debut collection of 14 stories, captures the two sides of Kashmir brilliantly. Indeed, the juxtaposition of hard scientific terminology and lush romantic mythology never feels unnatural." -Calgary Herald

"Like the dazzling red cover of this slim volume, Montreal writer Jaspreet Singh's prose flashes with poetic lyricism." -Montreal Gazette

"Seventeen Tomatoes is a quiet but worthy debut, a love letter penned to the many-faced land of Singh's youth." -Montreal Review of Books

Jaspreet Singh's stories have appeared in Walrus, Fiddlehead, World Cup Cricket Anthology, and Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope. Seventeen Tomatoes won the 2004 McAuslan First Book Prize and has been translated into Spanish and Punjabi. He was the 2006 07 Markin-Flanagan Writer-in-Residence at theUniversity of Calgary.
Born in 1969, Jaspreet Singh grew up in India and Kashmir. In 1990 he moved to Montreal, where he received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from McGill University. In March 2002, Quill and Quire identified him as one of the five new talents to watch. His stories have appeared in the Fiddlehead and Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope and he is currently at work on a novel, The Book of Hanging Gardens.

Other books by Jaspreet Singh: Chef
Trade paperback
160 pp 8.5" x 5.5"
ISBN13: 9781550651881

CDN $16.95
US & International
US $16.95