- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Om Books International (4 September 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9384625574
- ISBN-13: 978-9384625573
- Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 2.2 x 13.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,24,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Bombay Swastika Paperback – 28 Sep 2017
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“The author has picked an unusual premise for this complex thriller. The characters are as unique as the setting. What a terrific debut!” - Shobhaa De, Bestselling Novelist and Columnist
"With the amazing ease of a seasoned storyteller, Braham Singh takes the reader to a world that is alive with history and throbbing with details. Bombay Swastika is a compelling first novel and an exciting thriller." - Anees Salim, Award-winning Author
"Braham Singh's narrative keeps you going till the end. From Nazi camps to Mumbai's deepest secrets, and to Homi Bhabha's nuclear program, Bombay Swastika keeps you gripped. Eagerly looking forward to seeing this story on a movie screen." - Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai, Award-winning Author
"What an amazing literary mash-up: taking the cauldron that is India, with its communal and industrial turmoil, and adding in tortured fragments of the Holocaust and the impact of exile and displacement from Europe. The result is a tumultuous and haunting tour de force and a stunning debut novel." - Monroe E. Price, Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York City
BOMBAY SWASTIKA, by Braham Singh…..a Review…..
A Sensational thriller wherein the author cleverly juxtaposes settings that oscillate between Germany of 1934 and the Bombay of the 1960s. The swathe of the landscape is so much at variance that it is the author’s ingenuity that makes for a seamless read! One drifts effortlessly into Germany and back with the main character.
The dramatis personae is varied; indeed the huge cast of characters is superbly delineated with their pet foibles and idiosyncrasies that makes them totally credible. The underlying commentary on the corruption that manifests in Government issues; the big importance of how everyone has a price and one pays in cash or kind is conveyed very simply with no moralistic overtones.
The 'Pucca sahibs’ and club culture floats in on cue as it were as a perfect setting for the Firangis left behind in India and the WOGS (Western oriented gentlemen -- -brown Sahibs). The abject melancholia of the slums provides a perfect foil. The singular exposure to the Hijra cults & Tantric philosophy make for fascinating hitherto unknown elements of Hinduism. India on the threshold of becoming a Nuclear power is very succinctly conveyed along with its idolatry beliefs and naïve acceptance of largesse from the larger world powers.
Language is simple with apt metaphors sprinkled all through is evocative of a person exposed to the delights of the written word! The descriptive passages are largely illuminative and convey the imagery effectively. The penchant for using profanity is rather distracting .as was the unnecessary and rather repetitive emphasis on body functions!
A great way to enter the field of wonderful and absorbing fiction through this bomb of a First book!
Wishing the author even greater success in future novels! - Gayathri Krishna
About the Author
As Chief Product Officer of a global telecommunications company, BRAHAM SINGH writes extensively on IT and telecommunications. Shifting gears, he now gives us Bombay Swastika, his first novel. He also wrote the screenplay for Emperor, a political thriller set in Malaysia and based around their May 1969 race riots. Emperor, the novel, is near completion. He recently began research on his third novel, The Little Eunuch, set in China. He divides his time between Virginia and Hong Kong.
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A German Jew in India, a Mallu Muslim engineer and a Sindhi Refugee girl, make up the main characters , all skillfully picked to narrate a tale different than the stereotypes.
Most of the pre-independence era books that I had read, were mostly based on the atrocities hurled by the outsider sahebs on the brown skinned. Bombay Swastika doesn’t talk about the conventional stories, it takes all the odd ones out and speaks about them.
A gora who is struggling with his finances and desires. A communist who even being a part of the country, is considered an outlaw, owing to his religious status. A young assistant, ready to seek help to avenge the death of her childhood friend. A story that one would have probably not imagined.
Author: Braham Singh
If you are a literature buff, you have yourself a novel to reckon with. This writer extraordinaire has brewed a heady concoction of interesting and endearing characters that have been thoughtfully structured by his rich imagination and great sense of humour. The novel's main protagonist, a German Jew, inadvertently gets entangled in a mesh of theft and murder. The chain of events around and involving him are intriguing, leaving the reader with a sense of longing to read on. It is unputdownable!
Great detail has been put into plotting 1964 Mumbai, and India, which I found informative. Bombay then, was a melting pot of cultural uncertainty, characterised by the surviving fragments of British rule, poverty, instability and strong emotions. All this whilst India was grappling with the remnants of war with China. Historical references thrown in keep the interest of the reader and reveal the intense research behind the novel. According to the author, most of the events around which the story is built, are real.
Expect profane language when you read the book. I personally liked the author's writing style. His sense of humour is very catchy. ILMAO! For example, I can't get over how he describes turds as miniature golden cobras. There are snakes where I live and I can never see shit the same way again! Then there is the comparison of a backside to a tulip bulb! '.....her bottom blossomed into a perfect tulip bulb....he remained caught up with the tulip out there, tightly bound in a maroon saree.'
It is a complex thriller, but there is a sense of ease within the complexity. The best part of a book for me usually, is its 3D effect. Can I be inside it and feel the thrill of it? This one does that.
Overall, a captivating and thrilling narrative which truly knocked it out of the park for me.
The book is a complex thriller with facts and details from the 1960s Bombay surrounding quite a few interesting characters. Meet Ernst, the Jew who found refuge in India (running away from Nazi Germany of course), Salim Ali - a communist Keralite Muslim, Bhairavi - the buck-toothed Goddess, Andhi Ma - the blind lady with insight and so on (too many characters to name).
What I liked about this book:
The details and insight on 1960s Bombay. Beautiful, factual, interesting. I feel that more efforts were put in understanding the era rather than the plot (the plot takes a backseat in such cases).
The movie-like description. The whole book played out like a movie in my brain and honestly, this book is made for the big screen.
What I didn't like:
The plot takes a backseat. The reason it took me a month to finish this book is because there was no focus on the plot. The real thrill only starts after page 300 and by that time it is too late to start the plot.
Bombay Swastika should be called put under Historical Fiction and not thriller.
(Thrillers generally keep you hooked - thanks to the plot)
Too many characters. I wish the author could manage writing multiple characters like Mario Puzo - so much simpler, much better.
I happened to like this book a lot but I wish there were less details and more of a definite storyline penned. Also, this is a very overwhelming and a heavy book.
Good debut, for sure.
I am not so much into murder mysteries and thriller novels, but Braham's debut book was a pleasurable read. The writing style is connecting and fresh. There's not much scope for editing, and such things have been taken care of!
Braham is a debut writer, but his writing intellect seemed to be experienced enough to hold you glued.
Writing a book with so much research involved is certainly not an easy task.
The negative part is so many characters (though they're managed decently), and so lengthy word count (400 pages). If it'd have been shorter, the thrill part could be better. Though, the wit in the dialogues keeps the pace interesting.
For the thrill-lovers, this book surely would be a treat!
A book you should definitely try!