Suketu Mehta -- Maximum City

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A brilliantly illuminating portrait of Bombay and its people–a book as vast, diverse, and rich in experience, incident, and sensation as the city itself–from an award-winning Indian-American fiction writer and journalist.

A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us a true insider’s view of this stunning city, bringing to his account a rare level of insight, detail, and intimacy. He approaches the city from unexpected angles–taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs who wrest control of the city’s byzantine political and commercial systems . . . following the life of a bar dancer who chose the only life available to her after a childhood of poverty and abuse . . . opening the doors onto the fantastic, hierarchical inner sanctums of Bollywood . . . delving into the stories of the countless people who come from the villages in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks–the essential saga of a great city endlessly played out.

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, as he tries to find home again after twenty-one years abroad. And he makes clear that Bombay–the world’s largest city–is a harbinger of the vast megalopolises that will redefine the very idea of “the city” in the near future.

Candid, impassioned, funny, and heartrending, Maximum City is a revelation of an ancient and ever-changing world.
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