Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

by Suketu Mehta
4.4 9

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Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta

A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us an insider’s view of this stunning metropolis. He approaches the city from unexpected angles, taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs, following the life of a bar dancer raised amid poverty and abuse, opening the door into the inner sanctums of Bollywood, and delving into the stories of the countless villagers who come in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks.

As each individual story unfolds, Mehta also recounts his own efforts to make a home in Bombay after more than twenty years abroad. Candid, impassioned, funny, and heartrending, Maximum City is a revelation of an ancient and ever-changing world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307574312
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/21/2009
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 529,861
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Suketu Mehta is a fiction writer and journalist based in New York. He has won the Whiting Writers Award, the O. Henry Prize, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for his fiction. Mehta’s other work has been published in the New York Times Magazine, Granta, Harper’s magazine, Time, Condé Nast Traveler, and The Village Voice, and has been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Mehta also cowrote Mission Kashmir, a Bollywood movie.


Brooklyn, New York

Place of Birth:



B.A., New York University; M.F.A. (Fiction), University of Iowa Writers¿ Workshop

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4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Vermillion_Bear More than 1 year ago
I've read this book three times and I still love it as much each time I read it. Suketu Mehta definitely brings out the different lifestyles and things happening in Mumbai. Gangsters, movie stars, dancing girls, politicians, murderers, slum dwellers, and others are included in this book. There are so many interesting topics covered in such a small book.
ravens_path More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be very well written and very thought provoking. It explains not only the mega city of Mumbai, but in a general way, all the large cities in India and perhaps also many of the mega cities throughout emerging countries. Very good book for those wanting to understand politicial and socio-economic issues for urban India.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mehta has accomplished a feat: the book is sweeping and deep. There are so many stories and so multi-layered with history, politics, religion, economics and personal demons. Bombay is the main character: crazy, illogical, mesmerizing, charismatic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Suketu Mehta has described the vibrancy, dynamism, color, and culture of Bombay like no one has before. He brings it together under one book until the last chapter when it seems, in my humble opinion, that the book comes to an abrupt end. I grew up in Bombay, have visited it several times and the picture he paints is very appropriate. Of course, I never knew or was in touch with the characters that he weaves. But certainly the people who live in Bombay or know those that reside in the most fabulous city have heard about the incidents that he refers throughout the book. Lastly, MUMBAI is not the same as Bombay. Therefore, Viva Bombay!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like Suketu Mehta, I spent my formative years in Bombay before moving to the United States. I invite you to visit the city. It will enchant you, excite your senses and change your perspective on life. Life in Bombay is a conflunce of eastern philosophy, poverty, technology and western pop culture which produces a unique harmony full of hope and despair, and no one has described it better than Mr. Mehta. Mehta's engaging narrative shows how an individual's desire for a better life keeps the spark of hope alive for millions of people who overcome huge obstacles daily to strive for a better life. This point is amply illustrated in his description of an encounter between a cleaning lady and a local politician before an election. The foremost concern on her mind was an opportunity for her child to have a good education even though she made less than 50 cents a day with no job security and lived in conditions that would have been deemed horrendous by US standards. So, she asks the politician to get her daughter a slot in a prestigious school instead of something for herself. He expertly captures the unique dynamics in India society that can instantly alter the balance between emotional feelings and rational thought to create an unpredictable outcome in a mundane everyday situation. Mehta describes how he is able to get a local gas company bureaucrat to grant him an exception on a gas cylinder for cooking by appealing to her as a mother of a child after all rational appeals have failed. In this book the real heroes are the residents of Bombay. They welcome into their midst with open arms anyone from anywhere who is willing to dream about the good life and work hard to pursue it. This 'melting pot' attribute serves to make Bombay very different in character from other Indian cities. Mr. Mehta's decription of this city is both accurate and timely. It provides urban policy makers with a roadmap of what could happen if the institutions and infrastructure in our urban centers are allowed to detriorate. It also provides an insight into the Indian urban mindset for business executives planning to enter into business ventures in a country what could be the next Asian tiger.
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