There is no other city quite like Mumbai. A city that is a character in itself. A city that is ever-changing and is yet constant.
Over the decades, there have been numerous books that have captured the energy and the spirit of Mumbai. From the colonial era to the current, dynamic metropolis. Today I bring you a compilation of four of my recent favorites. A set of relatively lesser-known books to add to your TBR.
No Presents Please: Mumbai Stories by Jayant Kaikini
Stories of Mumbai, and about Mumbai. That is what perfectly sums up No Presents Please: Mumbai Stories.
A collection of sixteen short stories that make you think and reflect. Some that make you question your own opinions. Some that just leave you a bit disturbed. It is not the kind of book that you can read in one sitting. Take a while to “chew on” the story, before moving on.
The book is a must-read even if you are not a Mumbaikar. A well-deserved winner of the 2018 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.
Milk Teeth by Amrita Mahale
Milk Teeth is a prime example that a good book does find its readers. Set in a dilapidated building in the Bombay of the 90s, it is the story of middle-class aspirations. It follows the journey of Ira and Kartik with the backdrop of globalization, communal riots, and the ever-changing socio-cultural face of the city.
The charm of the book is the attention to details. The food, the people, the idiosyncrasies. Whether is it the powdery whitewash transferring on clothes or the crocheted covers on television sets. A brilliant debut novel with a large dose of nostalgia.
Bombay Balchao by Jane Borges
One of my favorite reads of the year, Bombay Balchao just grabs you in. Set in Cavel, a tiny Catholic neighborhood on Bombay’s D’Lima Street, it is a collection of interlinked short stories spanning seven decades. The transformation of Bombay into Mumbai.
It is as much about the history of the city’s Catholic population (East Indians, Goans, and Mangaloreans) as it is about Mumbai. You identify with the existential issues: shared spaces, rent issues, water fights. Yet another brilliant debut novel that is an unforgettable read.
Paper Moon by Rehana Munir
A young woman setting up a bookshop in an old Bandra mansion. Need I say more? What better book for a book lover than one set in a book store. Set in the early 2000s, Paper Moon is about books, family, love and loss, and of course, Mumbai. Hill and Chapel Roads, Bandstand, the churches, and the bakeries.
It follows Fiza, fresh out of college, who has been left a small fortune by her estranged father in the hope that she will open a bookshop. The book also explores her relationship with her fiercely independent mother, Noor; a mysterious customer, Iqbal; and her ex-boyfriend, Dhruv. If you are looking for a light read with a hint of nostalgia, pick this book.
Have you read any of these books? What are your favorite ones set in Mumbai? Do share about them in the comments below.A compilation of books that capture the spirit of Mumbai. 4 Books Set In Mumbai To Add To Your TBR #BohoPonderings #MyFriendAlexa Click To Tweet
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