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The City of Devi (The Hindu Gods #3)

3.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  702 Ratings  ·  147 Reviews
A dazzling, multilayered novel that not only encompasses a searing love story but, with its epic reach, encapsulates the fate of the 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 e
Hardcover, 382 pages
Published February 4th 2013 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published February 2013)
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Aleksandr Voinov
Aug 05, 2014 Aleksandr Voinov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-reads
Very good writer, some beautiful detail and colour. Veers off into the grotesque when the "Devi" appears, at which point it lost me a bit. Sarita, the main female character, is written with a lot of compassion, whereas I'm not too keen on the two guys. Especially didn't see the appeal of Karun, with whom both were obsessed.

(view spoiler)
Mar 10, 2013 Jenny rated it did not like it
Perhaps I should rate this book with two stars instead of one, simply because I managed to make my way through to the end. Also, I came to like the two main characters, Sarita and Jaz. I agree with another reviewer who wrote that the story seemed disjointed with the characters in that it felt like two entirely different plots. I was borderline offended at the excessive and over-the-top homosexual love scenes. Also, too many events seemed way too coincidental to believe, even in a work of fiction ...more
Mar 29, 2013 Sneha rated it really liked it
Sarita-Karun-Jaz. The triumvirate around whom the book revolves.

I've never been a huge fan of the love-triangle plot. I often find them highly contrived, far too predictable and lacking novelty. Having grown up in Bombay on a typical diet of Bollywood romcoms, I think can be blamed for my prejudice. That and those horrible bisections in Geometry class!

This isn't like any of those triangles though. It's refreshing, positively blatant in several aspects(loved the gay love-making scenes in the book
Vivek Tejuja
Jan 20, 2013 Vivek Tejuja rated it it was amazing
I started reviewing books when I first read, “The Death of Vishnu” by Manil Suri. In fact, that review is also one of the first on this blog. From there on I have read everything that he has written, not because of the fact stated above, but because I admire his writing and his thought process. Suri has the uncanny ability to make so much sense of ordinary situations. His characters aren’t larger than life, however the circumstances are and with good reason – to move the plot ahead, to make the ...more
Jan 24, 2013 Sara rated it it was ok
It's the future, and much of India has disappeared through war. A bomb will be detonated in three days, so most of the people left are trying to flee. Chaos rules everywhere, especially with the tension between Hindus and Muslims. Everyone believes that the goddess Devi has appeared among them and that she's the only hope for saving the country. Sarita, a Hindu, is busy weaving her way through the country trying to find her husband, Karun, who mysteriously disappeared a few weeks earlier. Along ...more
Mar 09, 2013 Siobhan rated it liked it
When this book is good, it is very very good; and when it goes awry it's a train wreck (no pun intended). That being said, I did enjoy the read very much, fast paced, never dull, certainly entertaining. The plot got away from itself in the last third of the book and just really came apart. I'm not a fan of multi narrator books and while the technique succeeds on some levels here, I'm not convinced it was necessary; especially since one of the characters (Jaz) is by far a more compelling and well ...more
S. K. Pentecost
Characters that are hard to love, or even root for, in an exotic locale, experiencing a sociopolitical environment interesting to me because of my lack of exposure to it. (Basically all I know about India I learned from rapey NPR reports and one or the other Best Exotic Marigold Hotels.)

The author tried manfully to cast aspersions equitably at both Hindus and Muslims, but it is easy to see where his baseline prejudices fall. (I can't decide if that means he can't help but hate on the other denom
May 20, 2013 Gerhard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
An imminent nuclear strike by Pakistan has resulted in an eerily abandoned Mumbai, where gangs of marauding Hindu and Muslim youth clash, as a reflection of the broader religious and ethnic tensions of the day.

Against this volatile backdrop, newly-wed Sarita is searching for her missing husband, Karun, a physicist by training. She soon joins up with Ijaz (or the Jazster) on her quest -- unbeknown to her, however, they are both searching for, and in love with, the same man.

The initial synopses I
Judy B.
Jun 13, 2013 Judy B. rated it really liked it
I wanted to like this more. Just phoning it is, Manil Suri can write a four-star novel, and this was definitely more than a wrote performance, but just not up to the artistry of his first book, The Death of Vishnu.

The story takes place in a Mumbai/Bombay on the verge of being nuked by Pakistan. The narration is shared by two characters navigating the insanity: Sarita, who is searching for her disappeared husband, and Jaz, who latches onto Sariita and tags along.

It is vividly clear that Suri li
Dec 30, 2015 Hara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Looking for a Bollywoodesque post-apocalyptic novel set in India complete with Hindu gods and goddesses as well as superheroes (and if you’re not, why aren’t you?!)? Look no further. Just want a great, absorbing book with compelling characters and an unusual plot? This won’t disappoint. This volume, the third in Suri’s trilogy based on Hindu deities, manages to combine both absurdly, almost comically, exaggerated and deeply universal human elements. Told from the point of view of two very differ ...more
Aug 02, 2015 Aqiil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a beautiful book. The main protagonists - Jaz and Sarita - weave love-laced, honest accounts of their memories of Karun, the same man they both love, as they trudge through the desolate landscapes of a war-ridden India in his search. At first disjointed, their stories inevitably collide and they are forced to hold onto each other even after realising that they are rivals, each representing for Karun a different world, tearing him apart. Manil Suri's writing is clear and sometimes reaches p ...more
Feb 02, 2016 Claire rated it liked it
I was nicely surprised by much in this story. The author did a nice job of interweaving religious, economic, political and sexual themes. I especially liked the open, straightforward narrative of Jaz's story. And despite the very different personalities between Surita and Jaz, I ended up liking them both; not an easy task for an author.

I think the one weakest point was a lack of needed development in the character of Karun, the object of desire for both of the main characters. I found it hard to
Ron Charles
Nov 11, 2013 Ron Charles rated it really liked it
Shelves: war-fiction
Manil Suri has written what’s sure to be the best sex comedy of the year about nuclear war between India and Pakistan. But the Baltimore mathematics professor is used to having categories all to himself. After all, his spectacular debut, “The Death of Vishnu” (2001), is the best novel ever about a man dying in a stairwell. His new book, “The City of Devi,” completes a loose trilogy about the Hindu trinity. Even amid the wondrous variety of contemporary Indian fiction, Suri’s work stands apart, m ...more
I won The City of Devi as part of a firstreads giveaway. The story takes place during a countdown to doomsday in India. Leaks from Pakistan indicate a nuclear attack on India will take place in a matter of days. While the general populace is fleeing cities, taking refuge in basements, and seeking solace in a questionable appearance by the goddess Devi, Sarita is desperately trying to procure a pomegranate. It might seem silly at first, but our heroine seeks it as a sort of tribute to/stand-in fo ...more
Feb 04, 2015 Ellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, dystopia
Quite interesting, quite odd. For the most part the book switches between sections of the past--Sarita and Jaz each meeting and falling in love with Karun--and the present--Sarita and Jaz making their way from southern Mumbai to Juhu beach and eventually to Diu together looking for Karun. I liked being in these characters' heads, even if Jaz was kind of an immature jerk at times and Sarita was a bit naive. Most of the story flowed quite well, and as I've mentioned, it was even injected with humo ...more
Mar 16, 2013 Pam rated it really liked it
The City Of Devi by Manil Suri is an extraordinary mix of thriller and romance, with Bollywood style highlights and layers of Hindu mythology, as it explores class and culture divides, the pain of disillusion, the destruction that is unleashed when believing in a false god, and the Hindu trinity of Vishnu (destruction), Shiva (maintenance) and Devi/Brahma (creation).

The novel opens a little way in the future in the city of Mumbai, where the threat of nuclear annihilation hangs over it like a clo
A turbulent, vivid dystopia set in a future India, seen through the eyes of two characters - Sarita and Jaz - linked by a desperate search for their lost loves in the ruins and chaos of Mumbai, as nuclear apocalypse threatens, violent Hindu and Muslim gangs roam the streets, and the rest of the world is cut off by malicious computer viruses that have destroyed global communications.

Atmospheric, sensual and darkly funny, the tale veers both between past and present and the two protaganists to add
Vinod Peris
Aug 01, 2013 Vinod Peris rated it it was amazing
The backdrop for the book is that India and Pakistan are at war and are threatening to annhilate each other. There's a looming threat of nuclear bombs being dropped on Mumbai and the city is in a state of chaos. The basic premise of a post apocalyptic India does not appeal to me and the first 100 pages of the book are dark and desolate. I did not care for the gory and brutal descriptions of the terror and mayhem in Mumbai.

The book opens with Sarita looking for her husband, Karun who has disappea
When we crack open The City of Devi, we meet a woman who’s venturing across the city in search of her husband, who has mysteriously disappeared. As Sarita makes her way to where she thinks he is, we get flashbacks to when she and her husband first meet as well as a peculiar complication that hangs over their marriage. Later on her fate gets intertwined with another character whom we also follow around, both through the city and through flashbacks. This guy, Jaz, is also in search of his loved on ...more
Feb 20, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
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 t
Jun 23, 2013 Narendra rated it really liked it
Magical realism with a "gay" touch. The background of nuclear, terrorism tinged, war on a global scale allows Suri to explore the depths of atrocious human behavior in society at large. Juxtaposed is a tender love story between two nerds, Sarita and Karin, who Suri develops into wholesome characters. To add a surprising twist we learn later that Karun is bisexual. Suri's writing seems to pick up a notch when he describes Karun's lover Jaz and their romance. It is refreshing to see homosexuality ...more
Kirat Kaur
I do agree with the critique that Manil Suri was over-reaching with this book and trying to cover too much ground, but i still think it was well worth the read. Suri painted a lot of really interesting (and scary!) scenarios in imagining the end-game that is nuclear politics on the subcontinent (and elsewhere). The personal stories of the triumvirate within the broader context are probably the strongest elements of the book, particularly the light that Jaz sheds on gay subcultures in Delhi and B ...more
Mar 31, 2014 Elaina rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended, romance
I picked up this book in the airport on this book enticed by the words, "apocalypse" and "romance." I was excited for a sort of trashy, exciting book - the equivalent of watching a favorite reality TV show with a glass of wine.

I was soon corrected.

This book ensconces prevalent social inequities, yet illustrates such with an entrancing story. I cannot pretend I was not surprised that the true love story is between two men, but I also cannot pretend that this love story did not touch me and ensure
I wanted to read this book because it won Best Fiction in the Bisexual Book Awards last year. That aspect of the story was sympathetically presented, and provided intriguing insights for me anyway - even if some of the descriptions were "purple," as I've seen other reviewers describe them. I give the novel three stars instead of just two because of this early story line, which I would have liked to see more of - but I really couldn't continue to like the book after the "disaster" started and the ...more
Daman Sahni
Feb 23, 2013 Daman Sahni rated it did not like it
I was chuffed to find a signed copy of Manil Suri's book at the Jaipur Literary Festival. Chuffed because his first was actually good, his second was not so good but I trusted him to get his groove back with the last of his triumvirate.

I am surprised by the raving jacket cover endorsements. This is a boring book. There is no character development. The story has no coherence. It is a bad book. Very bad book. When I begin to look at how many pages I have left to finish a book ( not in a good way)
May 12, 2014 Melinda rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Manil Suri does a wonderful job alternating between narrators in his novel The City of Devi. Suri does an amazing job with character development. He describes their lives in such a descriptive way, their desires are revealed in such a raw and vulnerable manner.

Suri's writing is intriguing, provocative and extremely descriptive. He did an outstanding job allowing the reader to have clear insight into human behavior. The City of Devi is unique and is well worth exploring, you will be pleasantly s
Apr 04, 2014 Lynne rated it liked it
The book blurb describes it as comedic. I beg to differ. It was a difficult book to read. It describes a world that has broken down with Pakistan and India at war and other developing countries dealing with missile attacks and the lawlessness that results. I found the unconventional "love triangle" strained credibility at times.

I really enjoyed Manil Suri's Death of Vishnu and like that book, Mumbai is one of the main characters. This book however did not capture the beauty, vibrancy and cosmop
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 12, 2014 Phillip rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for a meetup book club regarding Indian Fiction. I looked up the title beforehand and saw that it was nominated for both a Lambda Literary Award and "won" a Worse Sex in Fiction Award. It sounded like I was definitely in for something.

The story concerns a man who disappeared during an apocalyptic war in Bombay, and his wife and former male lover's quest to find him. The first half of the book it goes back and forth between the present during the bombing of Bombay, and telling th
Jul 21, 2014 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have hugely mixed feelings on this book. On one hand, the first hundred pages were fantastic. I whipped through them. Sarita's journey in both the present day as she searches for Karun, and in the past as she describes the beginnings of their marriage, were fascinating. The setting of somewhat post-apocalyptic India was one I've never seen before and I loved the bits and pieces of culture and religion that were included in the world building. If the story had gone on like this, I would have ab ...more
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Manil Suri is an Indian-American mathematician and writer, most notable for his first novel, The Death of Vishnu.

He attended the University of Bombay before moving to the United States, where he attended Carnegie Mellon University. He received a PHD in mathematics in 1983, and became a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

He still continues to hold this job even th
More about Manil Suri...

Other Books in the Series

The Hindu Gods (3 books)
  • The Death of Vishnu (The Hindu Gods, #1)
  • The Age of Shiva (The Hindu Gods, #2)

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