Tag Archive for 'Novel'

Mahabharata set in Mumbai’s underworld by Sandipan Deb

In Open magazine, an extract from Sandipan Deb‘s The Last War. The novel is a re-imagining of the Mahabharata set in the Mumbai underworld:

‘Are you ready?’ asked Kishenbhai.

 Jeet was standing at the window, looking out at the apartment buildings on view. They were all dark, the inhabitants were all asleep. Dead to the world, in deep sleep, or fitfully, or just pretending. Some of them would have their minds peopled with as many ghosts as I have in mine, thought Jeet. No, not as many, but they would never know. Every man gets the number of ghosts he deserves. Or can bear. Lying there in bed, all alone, with his wife sleeping peacefully, a foot or two away…The balconies of all the apartments Jeet could see were grilled. In effect, they had all been converted to little ironing chambers. All of them had ironing boards in them. How many clothes did they iron every day? I have never ironed anything in my life. The ironing just happened. I don’t even know who ironed my clothes. Bizarre.

 Jeet touched the gun snuggled in his waistband. He had dismantled it, cleaned and oiled it and put it back together a few hours ago. He loved doing that. Maybe ironing gave the same sort of pleasure…bringing something back to full efficiency and the original pristine identity. That was perhaps something everything in the world deserved. Except for living beings. They grew old and died. More:

And another extract in Outlook:


Three Pakistani men in post-9/11 America

Sanjay Sipahimalani reviews HM Naqvi‘s Home Boy in The Indian Express:

H.M. Naqvi

Voice. Often, it is the attribute that sets the talented novelist apart from the merely competent: the ability to communicate in a style that’s distinctive and wholly of a piece with the material. From the opening paragraph of debutant H.M. Naqvi’s Home Boy, you know that this is an author who has it in spades. This is the story of Ali Chaudhry, Jamshed Khan and Shehzad — “AC, Jimbo and me” — three young men of Pakistani origin adrift in the United States after 9/11.

Shehzad, the narrator, known as Chuck, is an NYU literature student-turned-investment banker-turned rookie cab driver; Jimbo is a DJ; and AC is a PhD student on a sabbatical. The plot is set in motion when they set out in Chuck’s taxi from New York City to the Connecticut home of a missing associate, Mohammed Shah, a.k.a. the Shaman, described as “a Pakistani Gatsby” (the reference to Fitzgerald’s hero is entirely intentional). This triggers off a chain of events that leads to the trio’s incarceration for “terrorist leanings”. Very quickly, the paranoid mood of New York City after that fateful September morning transforms them from “boulevardiers, raconteurs, renaissance men” into “Japs, Jews, Niggers”. Upon his release, Chuck — all messed up with no place to go — is forced to re-evaluate his life in the US and forge new relationships. More:

Also read: Pakistani fiction a hit in India