Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review: Bombay Stories by Sadat Hassan Manto

On the jacket:

Bombay in the 1930s and 1940s reigned as the undisputed cosmopolitan capital of the Subcontinent. Bombay Stories is a collection of Manto’s work from his years in the city. Freshly arrived in 1930s Mumbai, Manto saw a city like no other—an exhilarating hub of license and liberty, and a city bursting with both creative energy and helpless despondency. It was to be Manto’s favourite city, and he was among the first to write the Bombay characters we are now familiar with from countless stories and films—prostitutes, pimps, lowlifes, writers, intellectuals, aspiring film actors, thugs, conmen and crooks. His hard-edged, moving stories remain, a hundred years after his birth, startling and provocative?in searching out those forgotten by humanity, Manto wrote about what it means to be human. Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad’s translations reach into the streets and capture in contemporary, idiomatic English the feeling that Urdu’s most celebrated short-story writer’s work stories provide in the original.


 As a reader, I am too small to even write a review on Manto's works. So, instead, I'l give an overview of Bombay Stories.

A collector's item, Bombay Stories has 14 short stories. But. What you cannot miss are the introduction and the appendix sections. What I mean to say is, this is one of those rare books which has to be read from cover to cover. 

Manto has written what he has, decades back. Yet, every story holds true in the world we live in. Bombay, the real Bombay, as what soul in these stories is. Human relationships, simple yet so complex, are played with in every story. 

My favourite of these fourteen short-stories is Barren. Barren - a woman's womb, and a man's heart. A man who is not capable of loving is also barren, and his life is more treacherous that one can imagine. Another personal favourite is Ten Rupees

I am sure I cannot do justice to the author by writing more, so just go pick up a copy. 

Rating: *****/5 

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

1 comment:

  1. Manto's Bombay still exists is all what I can say after reading this book :)


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