- Paperback: 600 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Random House India (18 September 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780144001590
- ISBN-13: 978-0144001590
- ASIN: 0144001594
- Product Dimensions: 29 x 20 x 3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 30 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Maximum City: Bombay Lost & Found Paperback – 29 Aug 2017
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Pick of the Week - 'If there's been a more striking snapshot of the changing face of Asia, I've never read it. With energy, wit and endless reserves of empathy, Maximum City leaves you desperate to see Bombay for yourself...'(Sunday Times )
'... it is Mehta's enthusiastic and intrepid self at the centre of his narrative that lends his account its appeal and memorable poetic charge.'(Observer )
'Mehta's extraordinary, and extraordinarily rich book, is both testimony and warning; a snapshot of a city full of vitality and hate.'(The Telegraph )
'Combining an insider's knowledge with a visitor's detachment, he prises open the rotten underbelly of the city to expose an unforgettable picture of depravity, greed sectarian strife and corruption. This is a stupendous book'(Mail on Sunday ) --Mail on Sunday
About the Author
Suketu Mehta is a New York-based author and an associate professor of journalism at New York University. His book Maximum City won the Kiriyama Prize and the Hutch Crossword Award and was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, the Lettre Ulysses Prize, the BBC4 Samuel Johnson Prize and the Guardian First Book Award. He write an original screenplay for New York, I Love You, co-wrote Mission Kashmir, a Bollywood movie, as well as a novella What Is Remembered (2016).
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The man who writes “I'm sick of meeting murderers” is so much nicer that when he realizes that an unconscious girl will be gang raped, he writes about it, period. It’s one thing not to be able to prevent a targeted-killing but this other thing, about to happen in a bar in which he knows the owner of the place and is a frequent VIP guest, well… I still cant understand from where the author derives the moral ground to feel superior to his shooter congeners. Maybe because after doing nothing to prevent a rape, he is on the following page in a party with diplomats?
I disliked the author's double standards all throughout the book, both his morality and his logic suffered the same fate, there is one metric for him and another one for the rest.
Also, as a work of literary reportage, the use of proper terms is paramount. I remember noticing a few very unhappy terms, one that due to my line of work made me angry was when speaking of a criminal, he wrote that he is a “special category of refugee: not a political refugee, not an economic refugee but a criminal refugee”. Now, let us not promote the negative connotation associated, wrongly, with the term. Criminals are legally excluded from being refugees, thus, they are just criminals, not refugees (by the way, economic migrants are migrants, also not refuges).
For all the praise, I was expecting better, I was disappointed by this book.
This is a work of non-fiction. Suketu has interviewed all sorts of people and transferred their accounts into this narrative. He's met senior police officers, drug dealers, prostitutes, dance bar girls, crime gang members, and all sorts of other people. I love his detailed, in sentimental style. Through his narrative, the humanity and the brutalisation of modern metros shine through.
This book is at the same time a comment on large and crowded cities (is Hong Kong or NYC going to be any different?), on the way the Indian state works (the Indian police is the country's largest organised crime gang), and on the very basic human struggle to survive and "do well" with their lives.
It's compelling, it's informative, it's a punch in the gut and a fresh breath of air all at the same time, and I'd recommend the book to anyone, anyone at all.