Vantage point

Friday, June 02, 2006

Semi-Review of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

Have been reading Suketu Mehta's Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found since yesterday. Have reached page 150 and am so far less than impressed with the book.

There are no new insights, nothing incisive, nothing warm, nothing revealing about Bombay. At least until now, the book appears no different than a paraphrasing of selected articles from Bombay newspapers.

Plus there are several aspects of the author's writing style that are jarring. There is too much of a self-satisfied-townie-gujju tone in the narrative, which unless it is a deliberate effect which will later be transformed as the book progresses, is very irritating. He seems to be making an effort to be the self-satisfied-townie-gujju-turned-Bombayite-with-perspective, but it is not working. There are still many unnecessary snobbish touches. For instance, how does it enhance my reading experience if I am told that Thackeray pronounces menace as menaas?

Plus the observations and colcusions have all been noted before.

So I hope the book gets real good real soon, or else I am abandoning it and taking up Shantaram.