by Salman Rushdie
About the book: Time Magazine's Best Book of the YearBooker Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie combines a ferociously witty family saga with a surreally imagined and sometimes blasphemous chronicle of modern India and flavors the mixture with peppery soliloquies on art, ethnicity, religious fanaticism, and the terrifying power of love. Moraes "Moor" Zogoiby, the last surviving scion of a dynasty of Cochinese spice merchants and crime lords, is also a compulsive storyteller and an exile. As he travels a route that takes him from India to Spain, he leaves behind a tale of mad passions and volcanic family hatreds, of titanic matriarchs and their mesmerized offspring, of premature deaths and curses that strike beyond the grave.
by Gregory David Roberts
About the book: "It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured."So begins this epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear.Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay's hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.As a hunted man without a home, family, or identity, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums, and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The search leads him to war, prison torture, murder, and a series of enigmatic and bloody betrayals. The keys to unlock the mysteries and intrigues that bind Lin are held by two people. The first is Khader Khan: mafia godfather, criminal-philosopher-saint, and mentor to Lin in the underworld of the Golden City. The second is Karla: elusive, dangerous, and beautiful, whose passions are driven by secrets that torment her and yet give her a terrible power.Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas---this huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart. Based on the life of the author, it is by any measure the debut of an extraordinary voice in literature.
by Rohinton Mistry
About the book: Rohinton Mistry’s enthralling novel is at once a domestic drama and an intently observed portrait of present-day Bombay in all its vitality and corruption. At the age of seventy-nine, Nariman Vakeel, already suffering from Parkinson’s disease, breaks an ankle and finds himself wholly dependent on his family. His step-children, Coomy and Jal, have a spacious apartment (in the inaptly named Chateau Felicity), but are too squeamish and resentful to tend to his physical needs. Nariman must now turn to his younger daughter, Roxana, her husband, Yezad, and their two sons, who share a small, crowded home. Their decision will test not only their material resources but, in surprising ways, all their tolerance, compassion, integrity, and faith. Sweeping and intimate, tragic and mirthful, Family Matters is a work of enormous emotional power.
by Murzban F. Shroff
About the book: Shortlisted for the 2009 Commomwealth Writers' Prize Shroff's vibrant narratives in this concept collection of 14 stories set in contemporary Bombay feature a range of beautifully drawn characters in fascinating situations: from the laundrywallas' water shortage problems, to the doomed love affair of a schizophrenic painter and his Bollywood girlfriend, to the wandering thoughts of a massagewalla at Chowpatty Beach, to the heart-warming relationship of a carriage driver and his beloved horse. Each of these stories is richly crafted and arranged against the grand chaotic backdrop of life that is Bombay. Shroff's love for his hometown shines through, but so does his deep understanding of its challenges and problems. The reader is afforded an insider's view of this pulsating city, and through an unforgettable emotional and cultural journey comes to care for the characters presented in these stories.
by Suketu Mehta
About the book: A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us an insider’s view of this stunning metropolis. He approaches the city from unexpected angles, taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs; following the life of a bar dancer raised amid poverty and abuse; opening the door into the inner sanctums of Bollywood; and delving into the stories of the countless villagers who come in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks.
by Jerry Pinto,Naresh Fernandes
About the book: When King Charles Ii Of England Married Princess Catherine De Braganza Of Portugal In 1661, He Received As Part Of His Dowry The Isles Of Bom Bahia, The Good Bay. Reclaimed From The Sea, These Would Become The Modern City Of Bombay. A Marriage Of Affluence And Abject Poverty, Where A Grey Concrete Jungle Is The Backdrop To A Heady Potpourri Of Ethnic, Linguistic And Religious Subcultures, Bombay, Renamed Mumbai After The Goddess Mumbadevi, Defies Definition. Bombay, Meri Jaan, Comprising Poems And Prose Pieces By Some Of The Biggest Names In Literature, In Addition To Cartoons, Photographs, A Song And A Bombay Duck Recipe, Tries To Capture The Spirit Of This Great Metropolis.
by Vikram Chandra
About the book: On the heels of his award-winning and extravagantly praised first novel, RED EARTH AND POURING RAIN, Vikram Chandra offers five ingeniously linked stories--a love story, a mystery, a ghost story, and other tales spun by an elusive narrator sitting in a smoky Bombay bar. Critics around the world have embraced the book as a major work by this exciting young writer.
by Kamala Ganesh,Usha Thakkar & Gita Chadha
About the book: Zero Point, from which all distances to the city are measured, is an apt metaphor for Horniman Circle. Located in the heart of the 'Fort', it holds within itself the early history of the Portuguese and British presence, going back to the mid-sixteenth century. It is the very birthplace of Bombay. It is, at the same time, a hub of contemporary Mumbai, anchored in its economy and ethos. The co-presence of varied institutions - financial, commercial, governmental, intellectual - gives it a special character. The dual orientation to the past and the present, the multiple weave of institutions and the diversity of people who work in them and their mutual connections, continuities and disjunctures form the theme of this book, which seeks to document the intangible heritage of the Horniman Circle. The twenty essays and photographs by a range of academic and creative professionals, in a style that is lively and engaging, combine historical and ethnographic research. They describe, analyse and reflect on not only the architectural and historical artifacts, but also the distinct work ethos and leisure activities, democratic and civic impulses, public spaces, commercial dynamism, traditions of scholarship and journalism, reading and food culture. Responding to Mumbai's increasingly proactive civil society groups, the book addresses a broad spectrum of readers - from professionals to informed laypersons - with a serious, critical yet empathetic approach to issues of urban heritage. Zero Point: from which distances to the city are measured. Mumbai's Zero Point used to be St Thomas's Cathedral in the Horniman Circle. It was later moved to the GPO.
by Kiran Nagarkar
About the book: 1995 Penguin Books India(Penguin Original) trade paperback. Indian import, ISBN:9780140247275. Kiran Nagarkar (Krishnas Schatten). The bizarre and touching friendship between a Hindu and a catholic living in the same building.
by Anjali Joseph
About the book: A tremendous first novel from an exciting young author recently chosen as one of the Telegraph's '20 under 40' best UK writers. Famous for its electric chaos, the city of Bombay also accommodates pockets of calm. In one such space works Mohan, a contemplative man who has spent his life observing people from his seat as a letter-writer outside the main post office. But Mohan's lack of engagement with the world has caused a thawing of his marriage. At this delicate moment Mohan - and his wife, Lakshmi - are joined at their home in Saraswati Park by their nephew, Ashish, a sexually uncertain 19-year-old who has to repeat his final year in college. As the novel unfolds, the lives of each of the three characters are thrown into relief by the comical frustrations of family life: annoying relatives, unspoken yearnings and unheard grievances. When Lakshmi loses her only brother, she leaves Bombay for a relative's home to mourn not only the death of a sibling but also the vital force of her marriage. Ashish, meanwhile, embarks on an affair with a much richer boy in his college and, not long afterwards, succumbs to the overtures of his English tutor. As Mohan scribbles away in the margins of the sort of books he secretly hopes to write one day, he worries about whether his wife will return, what will become of Ashish, and if he himself will ever find his own voice to write from the margins about the centre of which he will never be a part.
by Sonia Faleiro
About the book: Already published in India to great acclaim and named a Time Out Subcontinental Book of the Year and an Observer Book of the Year, Beautiful Thing is a stunning piece of reportage that offers a rare firsthand glimpse into Bombay’s notorious sex industry.Sonia Faleiro was a reporter in search of a story when she met nineteen-year-old Leela, a charismatic exotic dancer with a story to tell. Leela introduced Sonia to the underworld of Bombay’s dance bars: a world of glamorous women; of fierce love, sex, and violence; of gangsters, police, prostitutes, and pimps. When an ambitious politician cashed in on a tide of false morality and had Bombay’s dance bars wiped out, Leela’s proud independence faced its greatest test. In a city where almost everyone is certain that someone, somewhere, is worse off than them, she fights to survive—and to win.Sonia Faleiro has crafted one of the most original works of nonfiction about India in years. Unforgettable for its artistry and intimacy, Beautiful Thing is a vivid portrait of one reporter’s journey into the dark, damaged soul of Bombay.
by Gyan Prakash
About the book: A place of spectacle and ruin, Mumbai exemplifies the cosmopolitan metropolis. It is not just a big city but also a soaring vision of modern urban life. Millions from India and beyond, of different ethnicities, languages, and religions, have washed up on its shores, bringing with them their desires and ambitions. Mumbai Fables explores the mythic inner life of this legendary city as seen by its inhabitants, journalists, planners, writers, artists, filmmakers, and political activists. In this remarkable cultural history of one of the world's most important urban centers, Gyan Prakash unearths the stories behind its fabulous history, viewing Mumbai through its turning points and kaleidoscopic ideas, comic book heroes, and famous scandals--the history behind Mumbai's stories of opportunity and oppression, of fabulous wealth and grinding poverty, of cosmopolitan desires and nativist energies. Starting from the catastrophic floods and terrorist attacks of recent years, Prakash reaches back to the sixteenth-century Portuguese conquest to reveal the stories behind Mumbai's historic journey. Examining Mumbai's role as a symbol of opportunity and reinvention, he looks at its nineteenth-century development under British rule and its twentieth-century emergence as a fabled city on the sea. Different layers of urban experience come to light as he recounts the narratives of the Nanavati murder trial and the rise and fall of the tabloid Blitz, and Mumbai's transformation from the red city of trade unions and communists into the saffron city of Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena. Starry-eyed planners and elite visionaries, cynical leaders and violent politicians of the street, land sharks and underworld dons jostle with ordinary citizens and poor immigrants as the city copes with the dashed dreams of postcolonial urban life and lurches into the seductions of globalization. Shedding light on the city's past and present, Mumbai Fables offers an unparalleled look at this extraordinary metropolis.