No God In Sight

It has been 2 years to this month since one of you recommended this book to me. (I do not remember who it was though!) And it also brings an end to my 3-month long drought of reading.

No God In Sight is the debut novel by Altaf Tyrewala. In a short 184 pages, various characters in Mumbai talk to the reader in an upclose The Circle style (remember That ’70s Show?). It is through these journal-ish confessions that we learn about what is happening in their lives right now and in the city in the bigger picture. As we move on from one entry to the next, we discover that each character is related to the next. As the mind goes on this time-ride, a bigger picture emerges — of the real urban India. (Though the author and the publisher seem to wish it is a picture of Mumbai, it is true about any Indian city.) No one is left behind — Hindus, Muslims, doctors, terrorists, teenagers, slum dwellers, gangsters, traders, cops, everyone turns out to be connected to the other, though they would wish they were not.

The writing is realistic, the pace is unstoppable, the humour is dark, the characters are genuine and this definitely is the noisy, dusty, homely, quintessential Indian city familiar to anyone who has grown up in one. Less of a city, more like a super-mutated organism that somehow survives and thrives despite all odds against it. This is no Naipaul-ish distant cultured India, it is gritty in-your-face In-di-ya. The book was un-put-downable, I finished it in one sitting with no breaks. Recommended read (4/5).

Related: Rediff.com review.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “No God In Sight

  1. srivaid 2010-11-13 / 00:20

    Why am I seeing your reviews on this book and a couple of others you wrote in 2006 and 2007 supposedly turning up now on my google reader?

    • Ashwin Nanjappa 2010-11-13 / 08:25

      This blog has started to see some hits, thanks to Google. I am adding covers to the posts that are starting to see some hits. These updated posts are appearing in your feed 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s