Maximum City

Maximum City

Bombay Lost and Found

Book - 2005 | First Vintage Departures edition --.
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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.

As each individual story unfolds, Mehta also recounts his own efforts to make a home in Bombay after more than twenty years abroad. Candid, impassioned, funny, and heartrending, Maximum City is a revelation of an ancient and ever-changing world.

Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2005.
Edition: First Vintage Departures edition --.
Copyright Date: ©2004
ISBN: 9780375703409
Branch Call Number: 954.79205 MEH
Characteristics: xii, 542 pages


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Apr 04, 2016

A rather unnerving read for someone actually in Mumbai at the time! There's a lot of violence in the first 2/3 of this book, and it is very long. It's more like journalism than analysis, and could have easily been cut. Nonetheless, I found much of interest in the book in spite of myself. Read it before you visit Mumbai, or after, but not when you're there! Read my full review at:

BPLNextBestAdults Jan 05, 2012

Suketu Mehta’s Maximum city: Bombay lost and found is both a classic of modern times and a travel book that serves as a gateway to understanding Mumbai (Bombay) and India. Survival in this urban jungle, where two thirds of its over 19 million inhabitants are crowded into five percent of the total area, demands dhanda and jugaar: the first word roughly translates into transaction and business ability; the second approximates to “make do, innovate, get past the myriad blocks” such as the challenging weather, bureaucracy, corruption, queues, traffic, caste politics, and diverse and competing interests. Mehta pens the intimate stories of bar dancers, mafia dons, whores, drug lords, businessmen, politicians, Bollywood greats and the migrant villagers who populate the jhoparpattis (shanties) with their dreams and demons. Monalisa, the bar dancer, confident of her sexuality and power, is given to self-mutilation to combat her inner sadness. Stories such as Monalisa’s are detailed, intricate, and non-judgmental and have the immediacy and intimacy of the writer comfortable with his craft and bound in intimate affection for his subject. The strong appeal factors in Mehta’s book are setting and character, with Mumbai displaying its unique character, much like Kolkata, Delhi, New York or Paris that have a distinct feel and ethos of their own.

Apr 15, 2011

An excellent read. It covers all aspects of India, from the slums to Bollywood. I think it's a must read for India-fans.

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