I love reading. Not everything though. My interests keep varying. Currently it’s skewed towards non-fiction and mythology!
I’ve always liked reading about Mumbai and I love the way how some authors weave stories that depict Mumbai in its different forms. If I had to pick three books that are close to my heart – I’d say Maximum City, Family Matters and Shantaram. These books have picked out different essences of the city. Read on to know why I recommend reading these three books.
Favourite favourite favourite book! Okay, that was too many favourites. You get how much I love this book! The author- Suketu Mehta returns to his beloved city after 21 years and encapsulates Bombay- the city of contradictions in a book! I started off with the book with an intention of knowing a little more about the metropolis. Every bombayite has this love-hate relationship with the city. My Bombay may be different to your Bombay. That is the beauty of the city. This book will make you realise about alternative Bombays. What I thought the book could offer me was a tale of the city with the author’s perspective that may have been unrecognised by me.
I read this book about a year back and I could still relate to almost everything that the native author had to convey. Bombay- the city of bars, underworld gangs, poverty thrives amidst a stark opposite reality of bollywood glitz & glamour, high society and a polished life.
The author after almost two and a half year of research cleverly delves into characters’ to explore the different sides of Bombay that showcase disparity that’s not so shocking to us- Mumbaikars, yet it provides an insight to people who are not native to the city!
“There are many Bombays; through the writing of a book, I wanted to find mine” resonates with me very well.
The author, like me loves to call the city by its charming old name- Bombay!
Why Would I recommend this book? For the sheer brilliancy of apprehending the city like no other. 500 pages of Bombay Spirit
‘A city is only as thriving or sickly as your place in it. Each Bombayite inhabits his own Bombay’
The book primarily explores the relationships and lives of a Parsi family and the community in focus. The book’s canvas also includes Mumbai’s right wing – Shiv Sena party
This book, set in the 90s is the author’s third book. Rohinton’s books has this melancholy that is hard to let go. It crushes you inside and makes you reconsider about how you view life. His perspective about a family life interlooped with the city in the background that beautifully captures the Mumbai of the 90s is hard to forget.
The book begins with Nariman Vakeel’s seventy-ninth birthday and further goes on to explore his life and relationships with his step children and daughter.
Anthropological information about Zoroastrianism is vaguely mentioned and sometimes detailed in the book as and when the stories start developing.
At the end of the book, I felt somewhat confounded- that’s the sort of feeling you are left with when you read a Rohinton Mistry book (A Fine Balance is my favourite Rohinton Mistry book)
Why would I recommend this book? For Mistry’s vast knowledge of the Bombay customs, locales and languages. The panoramic characters and his portrayal of Indian attitudes that is just spot on.
Confession: At 944 pages, this book is the thickest book I’ve ever read. People from literature background may find this shocking, but there, I said it.
Though I think this book could have been a few hundred pages shorter, it does depict a lot about Mumbai as a city with a perspective that was unknown to me. Riddled with insights on poverty in the city mirroring the underground Mafia, the semi-autobiographical book intrigued me about the adventures of Lin- the narrator. Hidden societies of prostitutes, bollywood actors, gangsters, beggars all live in tandem – known or unknown.
Lin searches for a deeper meaning in life through his search for love and his work at the clinic in of the poorest slums and his serving apprenticeship to a mafia lord.
Why would I recommend this book? A different world of human experiences can be experienced through this book.
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