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Kitaab Review: City Adrift: It wasn’t like in the movies

Oindrila Mukherjee reviews City Adrift: A Short Biography of Bombay by Naresh Fernandes (Aleph Books, 2013)

Bombay’s aptitude for aggregation can also be tasted in the snacks sold on its footpaths: Chinese bhel, Schezwan idlis and cheese dosas are made with ingredients (blended together with a large dollop of enterprise) that share the skillet only in this city.”

CITY_ADRIFTIf there is a single city in India that has most accurately served the function of the proverbial melting pot then it has to be Bombay. In addition to “snacks and slang,” as Fernandes points out in his book, the city has historically proved to be an amalgamation of people from different cultures, religions, occupations, and classes. Bombay has always attracted immigrants in search of a better life and, in the past, acted as a symbol of tolerance and cosmopolitanism, not least as portrayed in the fabled cinema it produces. However, throughout much of this book the author laments the recent decline in these values, a decline that corresponds with growing signs of “progress.” He attributes much of the growing divisions between not only the rich and poor but also between religious communities, to the rise of the Shiv Sena and “ad hoc urbanism.” Continue reading

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Aleph to publish Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’ sequel

Vikram-SethAleph Book Company has acquired publishing rights of Vikram Seth’s much-awaited ‘A Suitable Girl’, sequel to the 1993 bestseller ‘A Suitable Boy’. The novel is set for release 2016.

Aleph will also be publishing the 20th anniversary edition of “A Suitable Boy”, set to release February 2014.

The announcement came after the author was asked to return a $ 1.7 million advance by his previous publisher, Penguin, in July, as he had failed to deliver the manuscript of the sequel on time.

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