20 February 2013

The City of Devi; Manil Suri

The City of DeviThe City of Devi by Manil Suri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When we think about the end of world as we know it, do India and Pakistan feature as the places that will start it all? We should: they both have nuclear capabilities. The City of Devi is set in a world where a movie, Superdevi, has inflamed passions to such an extreme that Pakistan has declared that they will bomb Mumbai. The Muslims and Hindus are fighting it out, bombs are exploding in cities far away from India and chaos is reigning.

In the midst of this is Sarita, relatively newly married to Karum, an astrophysicist. Their marriage is... not intimate, and Sarita is trying to fix that but one day Karum essentially disappears. Rather than flee Mumbai (as her family has done), she stays, seeking him and trying to bring him a pomegranate to remind him of their love. On the way she survives a bomb scare, a train bombing and meeting Jaz, a Muslim who is also (we learn, although Sarita doesn't know until later) seeking the love of his life - Karum.

What separates this from the run-of-the-mill love triangle with bisexual twist is the setting: an apocalyptic Mumbai filled with sectarian violence and passions. The intricacies of the Muslim/Hindu hatred coupled with the Devi story (and various Devi incarnations) add to the sense that this isn't just your usual story.

ARC provided by publisher.

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