In The Jungles of the Night

A Novel About Jim Corbett

Through the lens of fiction, Stephen Alter explores the enigmatic character of Jim Corbett, the famous hunter and naturalist, who tracked down man-eating leopards and tigers. In this novel we see Jim as a boy of fourteen, growing up in Nainital, then later as an adult in his fifties hunting the man-eater of Mayaghat. The final section of the book is set in Kenya, where Jim settled after leaving India in 1947.

In the Jungles of the Night was short-listed for the 2017 DSC Prize in South Asian Literature.


Even for those who have read the entire Corbett corpus and biographies, this will be a welcome read offering a new look into a hunter who never lost his sympathy for any living creature – except snakes – or wonder for nature.

Ranjit Lal, The Indian Express

Corbett aficionados, and there are so many, will love this volume and thank Stephen Alter for it.

Sheila Kumar,

A warm, well-researched tribute to a man who knew the forests and hills of Kumaon, as well as “the sunburnt skin on the back of [his] hand.

Manjula Padmanabhan, Outlook Traveller

Alter writes fiction and non-fiction books with equal deftness. Vivid natural history observations relieve tense sections as Jim stalks the cat through the jungle…The lack of love interest in Corbett’s life has mystified readers… No biographer sheds light on this aspect of his life. Unfettered by real life, Alter’s Jim (Corbett) gets laid.

Janaki Lenin, Open Magazine

While Jim Corbett and his stories of the man-eating tigers have been extremely famous and popular in India, this book by Stephen Alter is first of its kind – a fiction with Jim Corbett as the protagonist. Picking up details from Jim’s life, like his hometown Nainital and their winter cottage in Kaladhungi, Alter has created a magical story revolving around the growing up years of Corbett.


Alter describes Corbett’s hunt for the maneater in meticulous detail which keeps pace with Corbett’s own writing… The Corbett that Alter describes is far more open than the Corbett we know from his writings simply because Alter throws in the dimension of his personal life, both family as well as private. Alter has the lens of being country-born himself, like Corbett in his favour and being a lover of the woods and hills – the first story captures the mist and elusive romance of hill stations.

Anjana Basu, The Statesman