07 November 2012

Review: Mumbai Noir edited by Altaf Tyrewala

Trade paperback, 279 pages
Published 2012
Acquired April 2012

Read July 2012
Mumbai Noir
edited by Altaf Tyrewala

It's been a while since I read Mumbai Noir, so I don't have the level of specific memories that an anthology review probably needs, but I remember being frustrated by a number of the stories-- but now all that stick out to me are the ones that I liked. I was more taken by the idea of a set of noir stories set in India before I realized that it is part of a series of books set in different cities that Akashic Books essentially churns out, but it still is set in a part of the world that I honestly don't read much about.  Devashish Makhija's "By Two" is the one that I remember the most clearly, about a pair of twins, one of which hides a deadly secret.  Editor Tyrewala's "The Watchman" also left an overall positive impression, about a watchman at a housing development who knows a death is coming, as did Namita Devidayal's "The Egg," about a woman in a vegetarian housing situation who just can't take it anymore.

Perhaps most intriguing was Ahmed Bunglowala's "Nagpada Blues," one of the few outright detective stories in the book. Apparently the detective (one Shorty Gomes) is from other fiction Bunglowala has published; I'll have to check it out.

Most of the weak stories have flitted away, as I said, but Kalpish Ratna's "At Leopold Café" was the most disappointing, in that it had an interesting premise, flitting between the 19th century and the present, reflecting on the changes, but I was completely unable to make sense of it.

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