No God in Sight

No God in Sight

by Altaf Tyrewala
     
 

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A daring novel about present-day Bombay and the individual lives that spark the city’s consciousness.

Fast-paced and innovative, No God in Sight captures the seething multiplicity of Bombay through first-person accounts of an abortionist, a convert, a pregnant refugee, a gangster in hiding, a butcher, and an apathetic CEO, among others.

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Overview

A daring novel about present-day Bombay and the individual lives that spark the city’s consciousness.

Fast-paced and innovative, No God in Sight captures the seething multiplicity of Bombay through first-person accounts of an abortionist, a convert, a pregnant refugee, a gangster in hiding, a butcher, and an apathetic CEO, among others.

As the reader is hurtled from monologue to short story to anecdote, disparate lives collide in tantalizing ways. A family flees religious persecution in their village to take refuge in an urban slum; women walk the tightrope of free will and dormant violence; a father and son grant each other the relief of estrangement; and young men and women struggle to comprehend the consequences of sexual attraction. At the heart of the action is the city itself: a teeming, breathing, suffering Bombay that demands subservience and total surrender before it will sanction survival.

Insightful, ironic, and scathingly honest, No God in Sight is a brilliant debut by a talented young writer.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At once clever and superficial, Tyrewala's debut novel presents 50 collaborative narratives set in Mumbai. Most of the stories are brief first-person accounts of makeshift perseverance against India's postcolonial problems: Hindu hostility toward Muslim minorities, mass poverty, pollution, corruption and the uneasy accommodation of global capitalism. But while many people Tyrewala channels-including an abortionist's father, an impotent adolescent and an unwitting polygamist-are immediately interesting, few are effectively realized, as Tyrewala's hero is the city itself, and he constructs this pulsing protagonist with interconnected vignettes featuring its citizens. For instance, an episode from the perspective of a woman seeking police help leads into another from the perspective of the petitioned officer, which leads to another from the perspective of a jaded journalist. The underlying concept is reminiscent of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, but Tyrewala fumbles the delivery: he successfully pits the specter of old-money Mumbai against the new poor, but fails to vary his austere prose style from character to character ("I am an abortionist"; "Today is my sixteenth birthday"; "I want to become a lawyer"). The result is a laudable debut, but some readers will find that what each character thinks is less interesting than how they think. (Aug. 18) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In Tyrewala's debut novel, multiple characters narrate interrelated pieces, giving us the same story from different points of view. The novel starts with the Khwaja family, whose pregnant daughter, Minaz, is debating with her boyfriend whether to get an abortion. Akbar, the abortionist, tells of how he hears the voices of dead babies and is traumatized by what he does. From these stories, we move on to a shoe-store owner who wants to sell out and move to America to work in his brother's grocery store. The family of a young man with polio must rely on a matchmaker to find him a bride. Finally, a young wife searches for her missing husband, only to find him dead along with 15 terrorists killed for planning an attack on the prime minister. Ordinary people are caught up in circumstances over which they have no control. Tyrewala's many-threaded approach offers a colorful tableau of modern city life in Mumbai (Bombay), India, but so many characters are vying for our attention that it is a challenge to distinguish their voices in the assortment. Recommended for large public libraries with an interest in multicultural fiction.-Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596922631
Publisher:
MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
08/01/2007
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
5.36(w) x 7.88(h) x 0.62(d)

Meet the Author

Altaf Tyrewala lives in Bombay and Mumbai. He has worked as a cashier, a telemarketer, a clerk, and an instructional writer. This is his first novel.

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