Friday, 12 October 2012

Mumbaistan - Book Review

So let me split this up into two bits. Things I liked about this book and the things I didn't fancy. 

Things I liked:

I have always said that Indian writers who write for Indians should not give out explanations about samosas and vada pavs like they are talking to imbeciles. And this book doesn't. The story is peppered with hindi words, especially in the dialogues and it is quite refreshing. The three stories are firmly enmeshed in the often neglected genre of pulp noir. The stories are short, fast paced and focused on the setting/environment. All the three stories end with a nice twisty cherry stick. The pacing of the first story and the latter ones are much like a steam locomotive. Chugs lazily along before throttling down the tracks. 

Thinks I didn't fancy:

I am not sure if it is just me or if the stories themselves seem a tad misogynistic. The fact that the stories themselves present Mumbai (Bombay is what I still call it and will continue to call it) as a omnipresent character and the detailed scenario building of the environment instead of the characters themselves was lost on me. I pretty much skimmed over the uterusial description of the bylanes and the landmarks which I now identify as being Bombay (especially given the fact the number of stories I carry around with me about 'remember that time when I lost my way and then found it again because I saw that'). 


I liked it. I didn't love it. Not as much as I did 'The terrorist' - Juggi Bhasin. But I still liked it. The three stories play like a disjointed Ram Gopal Verma (from Satya/Company days) story. I would have loved to find a common string attaching the three stories. But oh well!. The stories play out like a good decent Doordarshan shows (Like thekikat and Reporter) from the yore (before we started comparing the production values of US and UK with dear old DD). Recommended for people traveling by train for 4-5hours. You might want to get couple of more books if you are traveling for more than 5 hours. 

ps: 5 staying awake hours. 

Disclaimer: 5 is a random number. Not inclusive of the time spent sleeping on moving vehicles. Also dependent on your reading speed.

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