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Love And Longing In Bombay

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  2,392 ratings  ·  150 reviews
In these five haunting stories Vikram Chandra paints a remarkable picture of Bombay?its ghosts, its passions, its feuds, its mysteries?while exploring timeless questions of the human spirit. ? The stories are linked by a single narrator, an elusive civil servant, who, on each of five evenings, recounts an extraordinary tale to those seated around him in a smoky Bombay bar. ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published October 14th 2000 by Penguin India (first published March 1st 1997)
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Average rating 3.59  · 
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Aubrey
4.5/5
I spoke at length, then, about superstition and the state of our benighted nation, in which educated men and women believed in banshees and ghouls.
I chalk this work's low rating up to the collectively vain expectation that creations written in English will always be centered around the English and its domination of modern times. Colonization. Postcolonial. Nationalism in one and hoards of what I take to be Hindi with no sign of footnotes in the other. I would've been as lost as the majo
...more
Indrani Sen
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
All the five stories are very very nice. Loved the fourth one most. Vikram Chandra rocks.
Daren
In this book, Chandra provides 5 short stories (although one is more novella size), presented in a somewhat contrived format utilising a Scheherezade type story-teller device. This was pretty thin, but insignificant enough not to detract.
The five stories were mixed and somewhat eclectic. Each story has a title attributed with a Hindu concept (sort of based on Purusartha), loosely described below with each story.

Dharma (righteousness, moral values)
A ghost story featuring an army officer who r
...more
Bidisha
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where dreams and reality collide ..

I was about 13-14; my transition from school literature, kids fiction & Dickens to more serious and worldly books had commenced. It is at the cusp of this bittersweet phase, I picked up an old dog-eared book from my Dad's shelf one summer morning. So far, I knew Bombay only as the airport where we halted for stop-over flights, connecting railway terminals, and its fame (and notoriety) for Bollywood and the underworld. With this book, however, it came alive...
...more
Makrand
Exactly like the title, this one's all about the feeling of Love & turmoil and the Longings one usually gets trapped in! Be it longing for a long lost Brother, Girlfriend , an Ex-wife or even a Boyfriend. All these short stories are linked with only one thing in common : Bombay
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Rating: 3/5


There's a magic in Vikram Chandra's writing that is scattered all across the book in Love and Longing in Bombay. This is a set of five stories aptly titled and not connected to each other except that they
...more
K.J. Charles
A wonderful story collection/novel-in-stories with a fascinatingly old school framing device (the quiet man in the corner of the club who tells stories) set in modern Mumbai. There's a ghost story, a gangster story, and all sorts of love stories of various kinds--a gay couple of whom one has a secret, a soldier haunted by an unforgiven childhood accident, a policeman going through a divorce investigating the murder of a loving husband and father. Beautifully written and deeply engaging in much t ...more
Inderjit Sanghera
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chandra's Bombay is one of slick-haired gangsters, of lachrymose loners, of petty crimes and love and lust, a city teeming with life and all the possibilities in brings. The stories depicted in this novel range from the depiction of a mysterious murder case which is being investigated by the dogged Sartaj, to the love story between two people who are brought together during a woman's hopeless search for her pilot husband who was lost during the war. 

Chandra skilfully interweaves these stories wi
...more
John
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought Chandra's immense novel Sacred Games a little while ago. While it looks to be wonderful, I've been a bit intimidated by the sheer size of the thing. So this collection of five stories -- one short novel plus four in the novelette/novella range -- seemed a reasonable means of warming myself up to Chandra's work, as it were.

The five pieces are called "Dharma", "Shakti", "Kama", "Artha" and "Shanti". Shamefully I had to look up the meanings of these terms; I'll give shorthand versions, w
...more
Lori Kincaid Rassati
I read a good bit of fiction by Indian authors. I have a deep connection to the subcontinent and try to learn about the culture through current literature. I have truly enjoyed works by Lahiri, Mistry and others. Their stories captured me.

Having giving that disclaimer, I truly did not like this book. Chandra is a gifted writer, no doubt, but I felt no connection to his characters, to their stories. Even though the stories were relatively short, I found myself having difficulty following them bec
...more
Sharad
A collection of short stories... some good, others better... loved it...!!
Shrikanth Venne
This book is about the stories narrated by Mr. Shiva Subramanium in a dingy bar in colaba named Fisherman's Rest. This book is written with the perspective of Mr. Ranjit Sharma, who joins a IT company in Fountain and is introduced to Mr. Subramanium by his friend Ramani. Subramanium narrates total four stories Dharma, Shakti, Kama and Arhta and one more story which is of Mr Subramanium him self named Shanti.

Dharma is about Jago antia who is a retired army man who after getting injured in the 197
...more
Jigar Brahmbhatt
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's a real good writer. All the stories contained in this book are well-drawn, its characters deeply sketched. There is nothing shallow here, and the joy of the language is immense. I liked the way Chandra has linked the different genera by a frame story: all the tales are told by a retired old man, who whiles away his time in a dingy bar off Sasoon Docks in Bombay. In fact, the tales could have taken place in any city in India, but it just happens to be Bombay, the muse of urban Indian write ...more
T.
Apr 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I spent 12 years trying to remember a story which I'd read in the New Yorker, and loved. For years I tried to reconstruct scraps of what I remembered about the story--practically nothing, except the image of a woman's fingers flying over a telephone keypad. Not the author's name, not the character's name, and certainly not the name of the story. Since it was set in India, I thought it might be by an Indian writer, but I wasn't sure.

At last I found it by exhaustively combing the New Yorker's onli
...more
Kishanlal Katira
Chapters 1, 4 and 5 are the good ones. Chandra seems to have this style of not using speech marks sometimes, and I'm not sure if I appreciate that. Also, the novel may have done better if it had taken advantage of its 'anecdotal' setup (where much of the story is told to our narrator) to reveal the characters of the people telling them more so. Whilst Chapter 5 did use narration to show us the characters more than the rest of the book, I think 'Wuthering Heights' did this better; if you read tha ...more
SuZanne
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love and Longing in Bombay is what the title claims, tales of love and longing in Bombay, all told by a rather mysterious narrator, who meets friends in a somewhat dingy bar and spins the tales for them. Five in total.

"She would remember his gaze over the water and think that nothing and nobody was simple (p72)." This statement describes these narratives, which are rich in Indian history and cultural complexities, as well as characters' observations about life. Chandra shows us a richly texture
...more
Govind Pilla
This is an awkward book and the stories are like some what strange , the narration of the author and the way he express feeling through word is good , but the content of the stories is somewhat creepy.

One thing for sure , the author has something against terrorism of religious expecially fulled by Hindi extremests.

The last story is good though , I liked it.
Larou
A while back, I read Vikram Chandra’s debut novel Red Earth and Pouring Rain, and loved it – it was everything Magical Realism always promises to be but so rarely really is – it combines a rich, sensual writing that lets the reader soak in the sights, sound and smells of a vivdly evoked reality with a fertile, proliferating imagination that transforms that reality into something even richer and stranger but which still gives us a perspective on our world as it is – distorts it into clarity, to a ...more
Neha
Another book with Longing in its name.. and its theme too.. its true when they say that we all long for something.. some just know it and some don’t .. and its never ending.. one desire fulfilled leads to another and we live our lives longing for fulfilment. All in all life is a vicious circle of longing and what do we desire the most – love...

I have not been a fan of Vikram Chandra after reading ‘Red Earth and Pouring Rain’ and even ‘Sacred Games’ was just a decent read. But you can’t go much
...more
Rachel
Vignettes introduce you to a garden of characters; reading this almost feels like watching short films, observing rather than inhabiting carefully staged and haunted dioramas.

From "Shanti," a man remembers the death of his twin: "The newspapers [...] had reported with relief that on this day there were only six dead. One of the six was his. one body identical down to the strangely short fifth toe on the left foot. He had never known the bitterness of small statistics, but now he carried it ever
...more
Sandeep
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rating 2.75 / 5

I am glad, I am done with this book. I cannot rate it any higher, as the stories in here seem to be mediocre, lackluster & boring. Lots of detours within the stories, left me with nothing other than scratching my head. The way the stories started or ended, boy o boy I am NOT impressed. Writing appears to be intricate, many situations/ scenarios appear to be disjoint from the plot itself!.

Cheers,
Namrata
Jul 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Vikram Chandra's writing style is just terrible to me. I cannot visualise a single scene he attempts to describe so very superfluously with a pseudo intellectual approach. I have to read each paragraph more than once to follow the narrative. Some of the stories don't have a conclusive ending and everything is left hanging, which could be stimulating if done well. I couldn't even get myself to read the last 30 pages. Plainly a painful experience. ...more
dely
The idea of five stories to talk about the purushartha is nice but I have found the stories a little bit boring. For me they were all ok reads but nothing more.

L'idea di Vikram Chandra, di scrivere cinque brevi racconti per parlare dei purushartha, è carina e originale; peccato che le storie siano leggermente noiose.
...more
Leslie
A terrific collection of stories. The linking device (the stories are supposedly all told by the same man to the same listener, an older wiser man to a younger brasher one with more to learn about life than he knows) could have been developed more thoroughly, I thought, but I found these stories consistently enjoyable and effective.
Vinitha
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked Vikram Chandra's writing - I find it poetic and very dramatic. I am sure it is not for everyone. This book is like a Bollywood movie - every detail in the surrounding is described to perfection and it just flows together.

I am glad I picked this one
...more
Seemita
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This eclectic mix of stories on the vast canvas of one of the most intriguing cities of the world is quite a read. I enjoyed the man and the ghost and the quirk and the serene. Vikram Chandra doesn't disappoint after Red Earth and Pouring Rain.

A nice breezy winter read for sure :)
...more
Rachel Pollock
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if I can speak coherently about the ways in which I love this book. I see why Chandra returned to the characters which recur in Sacred Games. Inspector Sartaj Singh breaks my heart in my favorite way. ...more
Justin
Apr 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Five intricately linked stories named after five tenets of Buddhism
Sally Edsall
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stories in this collection are not an "easy read", however, once you are in and underway each is gripping.

I enjoyed the Bombay setting, usually the upper class or newly emergent middle class (computer programmers for example) - something that is different to the usual view of India. Nevertheless, each had something to say about the state of India: the lost world of detatched housing, which reminded me of the "History House" in God of Small Things, police brutality, secret homosexual and int
...more
Lady Poe
Interesting read. After watching the Netflix series based on Chandra's book, I found this book authored by him. The title intrigued me as I am interested in cities, its dwellers and peculiar things about living there. I didn't find much about Bombay in comparison to Manto's Bombay stories. I did enjoy the short story style but there were times I had to force myself to stay focussed. The plot under each theme weren't as interesting as it seemed to insinuate. Some stories were scattered. However; ...more
Ilisha
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: college
DISCLAIMER : The only reason I picked up this book and completed it was because it was a compulsory read in my minor syllabus in college.
Ugh - This one word can literally sum up all of my review for Love and Longing in Bombay.
So my minor this semester is Diaspora, and I'm really enjoying it. BUT, there's always a but, Vikram Chandra is not my favorite Disaporic writer. Actually I would prefer not to put him on the list at all. Since I've read the book though, might as well review it. WARNING :
...more
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Indian Readers: Love and Longing in Bombay - March Group Read 36 98 Jul 20, 2012 02:52AM  

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Vikram Chandra was born in New Delhi.

He completed most of his secondary education at Mayo College, a boarding school in Ajmer, Rajasthan. After a short stay at St. Xavier's College in Mumbai, Vikram came to the United States as an undergraduate student.

In 1984, he graduated from Pomona College (in Claremont, near Los Angeles) with a magna cum laude BA in English, with a concentration in creative w
...more

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“So now that began to develop into a full-fledged shouting match of its own, and all in all it was soon a full-scale old-style Bombay tamasha, with people watching from every balcony and window in every building, up and down the road, laughing and giving advice and yelling at each other.” 3 likes
“The incredible length of Bombay sped by, those endless sprawls of buildings, huts and shacks, children squatting and shitting by the tracks, refuse, the crowded grey roads twisting and winding between, all of it blurred but fearsome in its strength, in its very life that grew it unstoppably.” 0 likes
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