Author: Suketu Mehta
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0670049212
Suketu Mehta left Bombay at the age of 14. Twenty-one years later, having lived in Paris, London and New York's East Village, he returned to rediscover the only city he calls his own. The result is this stunning, brilliantly illuminating portrait of the megalopolis and its people-a book, seven years in the making, that is as vast, as diverse, as rich in experience, incident and sensation as the city itself.
Mehta approaches the life a d lives of Bombay from unexpected angles. He takes us into the underworld where Muslim and Hindu gangs-their rivalry increasingly intense since the riots of 1992 and 93- manage to wrest some control of the Byzantine political and commercial systems of the city. He follows the life of a bar dancer, whose childhood of poverty and abuse left her no choice but the one she made. He journeys on the famed local trains and out onto the streets and footpaths, where the essential story of Bombay is played out every day by the countless migrants who come in search of a better life. He opens windows into the inner sanctums of Bollywood and the alternative universe at its fringes. And through it all-as each individual story unfolds-we hear Mehta's own story: of the mixture of love, frustration, fascination, and intense identification he feels for and with Bombay.
Candid, impassioned, insightful, both surprisingly funny and heart-rending, Maximum city is a revelation of a complex and ever-changing world : the continent of Bomday.
Along with V S Naipaul's India: A Million Mutinies Now, Maximum City is probably the greatest non-fiction book written about India.
Rich with insight and unfailingly well written.
Like one of Bombay's teeming chawls, Maximum City is part nightmare and part millennial hallucination, filled with detail, drama and a richly varied cast of characters. In his quest to plumb both the grimy depths and radiant heights of the continent that is Bombay, Suketu Mehta has taken travel writing to an entirely new level. This a gripping, compellingly readable account of a love affair with a city: I couldn't put it down.
Maximum City is the remarkable debut of a major new Indian writer. Humane and moving, sympathetic but outspoken, it's a shocking and sometimes heartbreaking book, teeming with extraordinary stories. It is unquestionably one of the most memorable non-fiction books to come out of India for many years, and there is little question that it will become the classic study of Bombay.
Mehta's sophisticated voice conveys postmodern Bombay with a carefully calibrated balance of wit and outrage, harking back to such great Victorian urban chroniclers as Dickens and Mayhew.
PART I: POWER
Number Two After
PART II: PLEASURE
A City in Heat
Distilleries of Pleasure
PART III: PASSAGES
Sone Ki Chidiya
A Self in the Crowd