Synopses & Reviews
As Mumbai empties under the threat of imminent nuclear annihilation, Sarita, a thirty-three-year-old statistician, can only think of one thing: being reunited with Karun, her physicist husband. Why has he vanished? Who is he running from? How will they form the family of three he's always wanted? To find him, Sarita must journey across the surreal landscape of a near-abandoned city, braving gangs of competing Hindu and Muslim hoodlums. Joining her is Jaz — nominally a Muslim, but whose true religion has always been sex with other men. Danger lurks around every corner, but so does the incongruous and the absurd: the patron goddess Devi ma has even materialized on a beach to save her city from harm. Sarita's search leads her to this beach, thrusting her into a trinity so mercurial, so consuming, that it will alter her life more fundamentally than any apocalypse to come.
Fearlessly provocative, wickedly comedic, and propelled with rocket-fuel energy, The City of Devi exuberantly upends assumptions of politics, religion, sex, and India's global emergence.
"This novel from Suri (The Death of Vishnu) shows India and, peripherally, the rest of the world, teetering on the edge of disaster. His plot draws out, through slight exaggerations and extrapolations, dangerous trends overtaking modern society: the world going down in a mess of disruptive hackings, nuclear threats, and religious strife. But the novel is driven by love and hope; Sarita, recently married, is desperate to find her husband, Karun, before the promised nuclear holocaust some days hence. She sets out from Mumbai toward the suburb where he went before the worst of the violence began. On her way she encounters militant Hindu and Muslim groups, a fantastical cult that worships a would-be deity name Devi, and a Muslim man named Jaz whose attentions she can't seem to shake. He joins her quest for reasons of his own, and each recalls along the way the intertwined pasts that have brought them together and set them on this journey. Suri's dynamic, unabashed voice leaves one for the most part happily, perpetually off-balance and, though the tone is too unbound at times especially toward the rather crazed ending the vibrancy and compelling plot carry through the occasional sag or inconsistency. Agent: Nicole Aragi, the Nicole Aragi Agency. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The City of Devi combines, in a magician's feat, the thrill of Bollywood with the pull of a thriller. Set in a city at the brink of the end, this is a fiercely imagined story of three souls haunted by a love that will change their most elemental ideas of identity. Manil Suri's bravest and most passionate book." Kiran Desai
A dazzling, multilayered novel that not only encompasses a searing love story but, with its epic reach from quarks to mythology to geopolitics, also encapsulates the fate of the entire world.
Mumbai has emptied under the threat of imminent nuclear annihilation; gangs of marauding Hindu and Muslim thugs rove the desolate streets; yet Sarita can think of only one thing: buying the last pomegranate that remains in perhaps the entire city. She is convinced that the fruit holds the key to reuniting her with her physicist husband, Karun, who has been mysteriously missing for more than a fortnight.
Searching for his own lover in the midst of this turmoil is Jaz cocky, handsome, and glib. "The Jazter," as he calls himself, is Muslim, but his true religion has steadfastly been sex with men. Dodging danger at every step, both he and Sarita are inexorably drawn to Devi ma, the patron goddess who has reputedly appeared in person to save her city. What they find will alter their lives more fundamentally than any apocalypse to come.
A wickedly comedic and fearlessly provocative portrayal of individuals balancing on the sharp edge of fate, The City of Devi brilliantly upends assumptions of politics, religion, and sex, and offers a terrifying yet exuberant glimpse of the end of the world.
About the Author
Manil Suri, a native of Mumbai, is a professor of mathematics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is the author of The Death of Vishnu, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and The Age of Shiva.