The Observant (Spuyten Duyvil, 2022)

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In a distant country, recently imprisoned filmmaker Vasant Rai is offered a chance at freedom. But the choice, he learns, offers itself at a very steep price. Ravi Mangla’s The Observant is a sharp-eyed literary thriller about freedom of expression under tyrannical regimes, authority and its adherents, and the demands of survival.

“Short and powerful, Ravi Mangla’s The Observant begs to be read in one sitting, but I read it slowly, piece-by-piece, marvelling at the book’s layered and emotional turns. It really is a masterful work.” – Rion Amilcar Scott (author of The World Doesn’t Require You)

“Ravi Mangla’s cool economy of words, his sharp, slightly ironic tone and eye for rich detail—they’re all perfectly suited to this riveting, incisive page-turner about a man making sense of his Kafkaesque captivity at the hands of a foreign dictator.” – Amber Sparks (author of And I Do Not Forgive You)

Understudies (Outpost19, 2013)

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Advance Praise

“Funny, moving, perceptive, artful—these are the first words that came to mind when I tried to describe Understudies to a friend. And then, to better capture its spirit, I began reading it aloud and marveled all over again at Ravi Mangla’s ability to tell us, with precision and wit, what deserves to be known.”

– Joanna Scott

“Ravi Mangla’s delightingly tight, micro-chaptered Understudies is an unassumingly beautiful and moving debut. It’s elegantly and hilariously precise about everything it touches, and it touches almost everything human.”

– Gary Lutz

“Ravi Mangla’s Understudies is a brilliant meditation on the private cost of celebrity, the longing to transcend the ordinary, and the seductive nature of performance. Darkly funny, sharply-observed, and terrifically moving, Understudies is an essential debut.”

– Laura van den Berg

“With the absurdist realism of A.M. Homes and the perverse randomness of Miranda July, Ravi Mangla’s Understudies asks ‘is the unacknowledged life worth living,’ and—in a prose as original as the novel itself—answers, definitively, yes.”

– Courtney Maum