Book Reviews Erin's Book Challenge

Book Review: Bombay time

Bombay time is the debut novel by Thrity Umrigar. Set in the inner-city apartment block of Wadia Baug in Bombay, this novel looks at the lives of the residents who have lived there for years. As this small Parsi community attends the wedding of one of its own — Mehernosh Kanga, son of lawyer Jimmy and Zarin Kanga — they reflect on their own past, their own marriages and relationships, and their dreams.

There is Rusi Bilimoria who wonders what happened to his lofty dreams and reflects on his dead marriage to his wife, Coomi. There is the ageing Dosamai, the queen of gossip at Wadia Baug. There is Soli Contractor, a confirmed bachelor still nursing a broken heart. There is Tehmi Engineer, the recluse of Wadia Baug who has finally made an appearance for the wedding. And finally, there is Adi Patel who moved to the city from his village to escape his demons. Overarching all these characters is possibly the main character — the city of Bombay.

Bombay Time is more about character sketches than plot. It is the interaction of all these characters, their strengths, their weaknesses and their relationship with the City of Dreams. It’s the love-hate relationship with Bombay, with what it used to be and what it has become. It is about dreams they hold for the future, for their children.

The first few pages of the book appeared to be a bit of a chore thanks to a change in perspective and voice which was a bit clunky. But following that, it flowed smoothly. I enjoyed the little details of the different characters, the things that make human beings interesting. In a way, it’s a voyeuristic view at your own neighbours. Everyone has their secrets, their demons, their pain and yet, they try and deal with it the only way they know. Given that the focus is a Parsi community, it reminded me a bit about Rohinton Mistry’s works particularly his Tales from Firozsha Baag — short stories focussing on a Parsi community.

Finally, growing up in Bombay helped place the story as it could be any of the apartment blocks in the city. The hustle and bustle, the class differences, the struggle and the love — they are all epitomised in the story.

My rating:

Bombay Time (2001) by Thrity Umrigar

274 pp, Picador, New York

Where to buy the book:

Amazon | Book Depository | Booktopia | Fishpond

***This has been read and reviewed as part of Erin’s Book Challenge 4.0 {a book set in Asia} and the Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge. Also linking up to Worth Casing Wednesday with Agent Mystery Case***

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

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  • Eli
    13 January 2016 at 8:58 am

    Oh, awesome!!! Bombay where I lived – gotta find this book… from the perspective of people everything gets even more interesting:-) Thanks for the tip and the great review!
    Eli recently posted…Love isMy Profile

  • Eli
    13 January 2016 at 8:58 am

    Oh, awesome!!! Bombay where I lived – gotta find this book… from the perspective of people everything gets even more interesting:-) Thanks for the tip and the great review!
    Eli recently posted…Love isMy Profile

  • Sunila Vig
    13 January 2016 at 11:12 am

    Well written review Sanch and seems like a nice book, though not one for me since I need a good story to sink my teeth into, apart from characters.

  • Sunila Vig
    13 January 2016 at 11:12 am

    Well written review Sanch and seems like a nice book, though not one for me since I need a good story to sink my teeth into, apart from characters.

  • Kylie Purtell
    13 January 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Sounds very interesting. I will have to add it to my new TBR list (sadly I didn’t realise my old TBR list in notes on my phone wasn’t syncing to iCloud and I lost a list with two years worth of books on it in the last update. Devastated!). Great review by the way, I love how you sum up the book so well, without any of the waffle you get in book reviews on mainstream media news sites. Exactly how I like reviews!

  • Kylie Purtell
    13 January 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Sounds very interesting. I will have to add it to my new TBR list (sadly I didn’t realise my old TBR list in notes on my phone wasn’t syncing to iCloud and I lost a list with two years worth of books on it in the last update. Devastated!). Great review by the way, I love how you sum up the book so well, without any of the waffle you get in book reviews on mainstream media news sites. Exactly how I like reviews!

  • Lata Sunil
    13 January 2016 at 2:43 pm

    When I read the first para, it did remind me of Rohinton Mistry. Even the names seem similar. How different is it from Firozsha Baug?

  • Lata Sunil
    13 January 2016 at 2:43 pm

    When I read the first para, it did remind me of Rohinton Mistry. Even the names seem similar. How different is it from Firozsha Baug?

  • Inderpreet Kaur
    13 January 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Seems like an interesting read and i find the Parsi community very intriguing. I may check it out but first I think I must read Rohinton Mistry. It long over due.
    I like your crisp review, with the just right amount of information. I have become a fan of your reading choices, helps me get out of my very complacent reading rut!
    Inderpreet Kaur recently posted…Spotlight shines on THE BROWN SAHEBSMy Profile

  • Inderpreet Kaur
    13 January 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Seems like an interesting read and i find the Parsi community very intriguing. I may check it out but first I think I must read Rohinton Mistry. It long over due.
    I like your crisp review, with the just right amount of information. I have become a fan of your reading choices, helps me get out of my very complacent reading rut!
    Inderpreet Kaur recently posted…Spotlight shines on THE BROWN SAHEBSMy Profile

  • Raychael aka Mystery Case
    14 January 2016 at 12:02 am

    Sounds interesting. I’ve been trying to find the time to actually pick up a book and read it and in the end decided to do a once a month review, so I have no more excuses. My first book arrived this week and I can’t wait to get started. Now to just find the time.
    Raychael aka Mystery Case recently posted…Worth Casing Wednesday Linkup | Blog ON!My Profile

  • Raychael aka Mystery Case
    14 January 2016 at 12:02 am

    Sounds interesting. I’ve been trying to find the time to actually pick up a book and read it and in the end decided to do a once a month review, so I have no more excuses. My first book arrived this week and I can’t wait to get started. Now to just find the time.
    Raychael aka Mystery Case recently posted…Worth Casing Wednesday Linkup | Blog ON!My Profile

  • Vishal Bheeroo
    14 January 2016 at 6:01 am

    Need to grab the book for my love to the city. Love Mistry’s books loads.
    Vishal Bheeroo recently posted…Flash fiction: A cup of coffeeMy Profile

  • Vishal Bheeroo
    14 January 2016 at 6:01 am

    Need to grab the book for my love to the city. Love Mistry’s books loads.
    Vishal Bheeroo recently posted…Flash fiction: A cup of coffeeMy Profile

  • Janet aka Middle Aged Mama
    14 January 2016 at 6:59 pm

    I love reading books when I am familiar with the setting – so you would have had an extra reason to enjoy this one! It sounds like something I’d enjoy too πŸ™‚
    Janet aka Middle Aged Mama recently posted…Adventures of an Amateur SeamstressMy Profile

  • Janet aka Middle Aged Mama
    14 January 2016 at 6:59 pm

    I love reading books when I am familiar with the setting – so you would have had an extra reason to enjoy this one! It sounds like something I’d enjoy too πŸ™‚
    Janet aka Middle Aged Mama recently posted…Adventures of an Amateur SeamstressMy Profile

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    15 January 2016 at 7:53 am

    Sounds interesting. I’d love to go to Bombay.

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    15 January 2016 at 7:53 am

    Sounds interesting. I’d love to go to Bombay.