An Indian-American mathematician who started writing in his spare time was longlisted for The Death of Vishnu, begun six years earlier, and the first volume of a trilogy named after Hindu deities.
Manil Suri was born in Mumbai and received a PhD in Mathematics in America. The Death of Vishnu sparked a bidding war between publishers and proved a great commercial success. It centres on Vishnu, based on a man Suri knew, who lived on the landing of a Mumbai apartment block. The novel relates his spiritual journey and looks at the lives of the other residents. Suri claims similarities between maths and fiction: ‘I think one helps the other. When I write a math paper, I spend an extraordinarily long amount of time trying to make it understandable’.