Death of Mr. Love

Death of Mr. Love

by Indra Sinha
     
 

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In a family of storytellers, there was one tale never told ... "Call this story fiction if you want, but you must tell it because it is true, and at its heart is that murder of forty years ago which people in India still remember ... "

The Death of Mr. Love, a novel inspired by a true story where the victim became a villain and the killer became a

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Overview

In a family of storytellers, there was one tale never told ... "Call this story fiction if you want, but you must tell it because it is true, and at its heart is that murder of forty years ago which people in India still remember ... "

The Death of Mr. Love, a novel inspired by a true story where the victim became a villain and the killer became a hero, offers a rare and fascinating insight into the psychosexual undercurrents of Indian life.

The reverberations from the notorious Nanavati society murder in 1950s Bombay — the fatal consequence of an affair between an Indian playboy and his married English lover — were so great that they reached the offices of Prime Minister Nehru and changed the face of the Indian justice system irrevocably. What is not known — has never been known — is that a second, connected crime, so cruel that it destroyed the lives of two women, went unreported and has remained unpunished. Until now.

In present-day London the women's children unexpectedly meet forty years after their idyllic childhood in India. Driven by grief, anger, or a deeper emotion they are unwilling to confront, they return to India to uncover the mystery of the crime that caused their mothers' suffering and exact their cold revenge. But in the bazaars of today's Bombay, a city racked and burned by communal riots, their adversary still enjoys huge power, and the friends soon find themselves in real, terrifying danger.

Spanning two continents and encompassing the secrets of fifty years, The Death of Mr. Love fuses myth and murder, fact and fiction. It is a tale of stories that "begin before their beginnings, and continue beyond their ends."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This debut novel (originally published in 2002 in Britain) retells an actual murder case that scandalized India during the 1950s. "Mr. Love" is Prem Ahuja, a notorious high-society playboy who specializes in seducing married women-like Sylvia, the stunningly beautiful English wife of a well-respected Indian naval commander. Predictably, her husband discovers the affair and in a pique of anger murders the cavalier lover; he is sentenced to life in prison. But Sinha proposes that Mr. Love has ruined another woman as well, Sylvia's best friend, Sybil-only Sybil's ruination comes in the form of blackmail. Fast-forward 40 years to London, and Bhalu and Phoebe, the children of Sylvia and Sybil, are reunited. Together they attempt to identify the blackmailer, whose identity was never made public. Using two narrative lines, Sinha alternates between the present day and the 1950s. What could have been an intriguing storyline quickly becomes hard work, as the reader strives to keep up with the ever-changing decades. An optional choice for collections where Indian fiction is popular.-Marika Zemke, West Bloomfield Twp. P.L., MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A masterfully told story of an old murder with a long reach moves seamlessly from the past to the present, from India to England, as a middle-aged Indian tries to learn the truth about his mother and a friend's past. Now based in England, the Indian-born Sinha (The Cybergypsies: A True Tale of Lust, War, and Betrayal on the Electronic Frontier, 1999) memorably evokes the contrasting textures of both societies in a first novel ostensibly about a true crime in 1950s Bombay-but in fact more about his protagonist's own life. It's 1998, and narrator Bhalu, a bookseller in Lewes, is summoned to London by his 76-year-old mother, Maya, who tells him she's dying. In Bombay, Maya had been a noted storyteller and scriptwriter for the film industry; but as a young student, Bhalu was arrested in a police raid, and once Maya secured his release, sent him to England, shortly following there herself. Now, Maya, who believes that lives are continually unfolding and that stories never really end, claims she left India for Bhalu's sake. Their leaving seems also strangely connected to the murder of one "Mr. Love," a famous Bombay philanderer. Recalling his childhood in Bombay and the Amborna Hills, where he first met English Phoebe and her mother Sybil, a close friend of Maya's, Bhalu also ruefully details his failures as a husband and as a filmmaker. Back in India he and Phoebe were close childhood friends who would explore the local countryside while Maya helped Sybil recover from an unspecified illness. Later, after Maya's death, Bhalu learns real story about Sybil when Phoebe, unmarried and curiously elusive, contacts him suggesting that he read Sybil's notebooks. From them he learns of Sybil's affairwith "Mr. Love," her botched abortion, and the mysterious blackmailer who not only destroyed Sybil but also drove Maya and Bhalu to England. Returning to India to track down the blackmailer, Bhalu will finally understand both his own past, as well his mother's and Sybil's. A stylish, page-turning debut.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060562465
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/02/2004
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.29(d)

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