25 Women to Read Before You Die

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Malsk87 has commented on (1) product.

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil

Malsk87, May 8, 2013

This book is high on reality. Even though I had nothing in common with the cast of characters portrayed in this book or their lives, I could not help but feel a strong human connection to them. It is this connection that unites us all regardless of our gender, race, educational background or other preferences. There were times when I felt that the narrative slipped into a realm of incoherence and that one had to very carefully trace the subject of a sentence in order to ascertain its identity.I assumed that that this was because of the primary subject of the book, namely, the drug fuelled underworld of Mumbai. I felt most connected with the character of Dimple, the eunuch pipemaker. As a reader, I could fully sympathize with her confusion, her desire to find her identity and her quest to belong, not only as a woman but also as a person. I felt that she was akin to a child who sat with outstretched arms on a lonely flight of stairs waiting for someone to claim her as their own. I almost felt as if I wanted to reach out and protect her from the harsh realities of life.

There was a generous use of common expletives which was almost expected given the environment the author was dealing with in his book.The author also used some distinctly Indian colloquialisms to describe certain situations. He did not, however, clearly explain the meaning of these colloquialisms. This, in my opinion, represents a flaw which could affect international readers who, in all probability, would not understand their meaning or implication. I was unaffected by this as Mumbai was and still is my city and I felt an instant connect with the places, people and situations described in the book. What struck me the hardest was the sordid and at times depressing nature of the book, it almost felt as if a happy ending was a theoretical and statistical impossibilty. It was almost like having to adjust one's eyes to total darkness and never seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. For most of my life, I had a vague idea of what the seedy drug underworld in Mumbai might be like but Thayil's book made it real for me and sharpened the blurred lines of my vision into the ugly reality of the hijras and other members of marginalised communities that I saw on my daily commute to and from work.

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