Thursday, December 30, 2004

Bombay, mon amour

My love affair with Bombay (not Mumbai) has recently been rekindled by The Death of Mr Love by Indra Sinha. This novel, woven around the scandolous Nanavati murder case that rocked 1950's Bombay high society, captures the pulse of the city unlike anything else i read in quite some time. I particular, Sinha's descriptions of Bombay in the monsoon brought back horrific/ hilarious memories of my one and only trip to the city in 1996. A decent hotel was not to be found in the city because it had been taken over by vacationing Arabs who had come to see the rain. And rain it did. Ugh, wading through the streets of the metropolis i water upto my knees and just knowing that there had to be dead rats and what not floating around...

But it seems that i am not the only one currently lusting for Bombay. A quick boxing day browse of the local bookstore turned up an increible number of new books set in the city. I limited myself to buying only Maximum City by Suketu Mehta. Even before i read the reviews i knew i was going to buy this book, but it is reassuring to know that it has been voted one of the best books of 2004 at a number of different sites. The discussion on Amardeep's blog also peaked my interest, though i won't comment on the book just yet.

Now back to Mr. Love... i ust admit that i was not at all familiar with Indra Sinha before this book, though it seems that he has written at least one other novel. I quite enjoyed his prose style. Early on in the novel i anticipated (with some delight) that my knowledge of hindi literature would be challenged a bit by Sinha's name dropping .... Manto, Mul Raj Anand, Mohan Rakesh, but this trend faded as the novel progressed, which i guess i good for you average North American reader. And i also loved the reflections on the burgeoning Bollywood film scene. Exciting stuff for one such as me. Aga in this fades, so it is a good thing the story was so engaging, kept me turning the pages and wanting to know so badly what happened!!!

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