Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bombay Time

Bombay Time: A Novel by Thrity Umrigar.
Picador (2002), Paperback, 288 pages

Set in the 60s and 70s, this book evokes a description of a quainter time and looks into the the lives of of a neighborhood of Parsis living in urban Bombay. The Parsis are peoples that migrated from Persia to India several hundred years ago to escape Islamic persecution, and this book tells us in touching detail how present-day Parsis live their lives. You read the angst with which the Jewish girlfriend of a Parsi boy decides to leave India for Israel and you wonder if a similar decisions might not have been taken by Parsis as well if they had a homeland to go back to. Fortunately for India, they remained and flourished and became full Indians.

While the specifics of this book make it a book about Parsis, Indians or Bombayites, the sensitivity with which Umrigar portrays the frailties, eccentrities, successes and failures of her community makes it a deep and loving foray into the human condition.

(Review crossposted on LibraryThing)

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