By Dustin Silgardo
When Jerry Pinto released his first novel, Em And The Big Hoom, in 2012, the general reaction in Mumbai’s literary and media circles was “finally”. Since releasing his first book, Surviving Women (a guide for men post women’s emancipation), in 2000, Pinto had been so prolific in his writing of non-fiction books, essays, poetry and newspaper and magazine columns, all in a style ideally suited to creative storytelling, that it seemed obvious that he should write a novel, and it was a surprise for many that it took him so long to.
Em And The Big Hoom was a memoir in which he recounted what it was like to live with his manic-depressive mother, whom he called Em. It was a critical success, winning Pinto the Hindu Literary Prize in 2012 and Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Prize this year. It also sparked conversation about mental ailments in the country and encouraged many who had lived with the mentally ill to begin talking about their experiences. He compiled some of their stories into an anthology called A Book Of Light. Read more