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Ravan and Eddie (Ravan & Eddie #1)

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  724 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
Ravan and Eddie are the unlikeliest of companions. For one thing, Ravan is Hindu, while Eddie is Catholic. For another, when Ravan was a baby and fell from a balcony, that fall had a dramatic, and very literal, impact on Eddie’s family. But Ravan and Eddie both live in Central Works Department Chawl No. 17—and if you grow up in the crowded Mumbai chawls, you get to partici ...more
ebook, 328 pages
Published December 11th 2012 by NYRB LIT (first published 1994)
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May 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: omar, lal, manu, (especially) august, phil, nethra -- everybody really.
Recommended to Naeem by: Kiran Nagarkar and Anjali Nerleker
I read this a few days ago and wanted to wait a few days before i tried to articulate my response.

It takes place in the dwellings (apartment buildings of types) of the lower working class in 1950s and 60s Bombay. The characters are mostly children and their parents.

The book is funny -- in the same league as Heller's Catch-22, Nichols' Milargo Beanfield War, and Rushdie's Midnight's Children. But the way Nagarkar invokes humor is difficult to describe. The child characters are always getting the
Amey Nadkarni
I had never heard of this book- which was first published way back in 1995- until its sequel- "The Extras" was released sometime in the first half of this year. That too i learnt when i stumbled upon a TV interview of its writer. Thus, before i could get introduced to anything about Ravan and Eddie, i was intrigued by the man who created them- Kiran Nagarkar.
Dressed in a crumpled white kurta- pajama and still radiating 'class'... Nagarkar seemed to me an exceptionally intelligent man with a sha
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most incredible books I've ever read and definitely one of my all-time favorites. It's set in early post - Independence India in the city of Bombay in one of its many chawls and it revolves around the early life and times of Ravan (born Ram but renamed by a doting mother, as a villain is better protected from the evil eye than a milquetoast mythological hero) and Eddie.

Interestingly the Marathi Hindu and the Goan Catholic characters in the tale share not only their chawls but
Apr 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
if you want to understand the cultural fabric of bombay, you cant miss this book
César Carranza
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Las historias de dos niños, que transcurren paralelamente, cada uno con sus propios problemas, que si uno es hindu y el otro catolico, es lo de menos, hay mas cosas que los hacen similares. El libro es facil de leer, tiene momentos muy divertidos, se burla de todo, parece no hay algo sagrado para el autor) es buen libro, aunque me parece de repente no lleva a ningun lado, pero, es que tiene que ir a alguno? En fin, muy divertido)
Twitter review: Vibrant premise. Promising buildup. Crazy characters. Parallel worlds. Dry wit. Wet dreams. Anti-climactic climax.

Exciting setup: Ram is a product of soporific Shankar & voluptuous Parvati. A freak accident converts baby Ram into a murderer(!!), gets him newly coined as Ravan (to ward off the evil eye) and unwittingly links his life forever with Eddie, son of the ‘murdered’ Victor. Aha!

Parallel criss-cross lives: Ravan is coaxed towards Hinduism and Eddie towards Christianit
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm terribly disappointed that I waited for the release of the third book in the trilogy of to read this. But I'm glad I did.
Ravan and Eddie has the humor of Angela's Ashes, and the gravitas of Behind the Beautiful Forevers. It's sound and rich and frothy and a page turner all at the same time. I loved the book, because it made pain and heartbreak funny enough to be bearable. Because the two true heroes of the story are not - as the titles may represent - Raavan and Eddie. They're the mothers, P
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure why I hadn't heard of this book until recently. Absolutely loved it. I think the best thing about Nagarkar is that he says it like it is; never shy of something scandalous, never employing a deliberate euphemism. The brazen innocence of his narrative is almost child-like, and that makes sense given the protagonists of the novel. The reality of Mazagaon chawl and its residents is laid bare, open for your scrutiny, just like how their lives are to each other.

Nagarkar's humour & writi
Meera Srikant
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazed. At the language, at the narrative, at the characters... Spell bound.
When I was doing my postgraduatiom, we frequently worked with the residents of Mumbai chawls. This book brought that world alive - a true microcosm of pulsating humanity. Strangely reminded me of Malgudi Days.
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I find I'm not easily impressed by books these days, but this one definitely swept me off my feet.

I had heard of Kiran Nagarkar's name a couple of times before, but had never read anything by him. "Cuckold" is his more famous book, a historical fiction about Meera Bai. It sounded from the blurb like "Cuckold" would be very serious and sad, and I need my books to be irreverent and fun. So I looked up other books by him and discovered Ravan and Eddie, which seemed like a fun read. The book appeare
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 1990-1999, fiction
I was expecting something entirely different when I started reading this book - perhaps that's why it was so disappointing. I thought it was going to be about two friends growing up in the slums of Mumbai. I had high hopes for the story.

But instead, it was about 2 boys who lived in the same building, who were enemies (but it was rarely mentioned) because of an accident that happened days before Eddie was born. It was about all the trouble that precocious boys will get into in Mumbai. Basically,
I almost became a fan of the author on reading Cuckold . Nagarkar has his own brand of satire which feels very close to nihilism. Unfortunately, an overdose of nihilism in this book has also turned it meaningless and root-less.
There are some good scenes, but it all seems to be a bunch of meaningless digressions. Digressions which seem all the more meaningless because it had begun very well and the first 25% of the book was a delight. Unfortunately, the second half was a drag. Thankfully, the boo
Amit Mishra
Nagarkar has done a fantastic job in describing the Chawls of Mumbai. Infact, the life of Mumbai chawls(around 60's and 70's) comes out to be one of the strongest characters of the book. It's victories, agonies, shared tragedies, struggles and how people continue to live through it is very well described.

This book to is an ode to the tenacious animal(whose evolution can defy darwinism)-called the Mumbaikar, where Ravan and Eddie act as prisms to show the various facets of lower middle class Mumb
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised reading the mixed reviews about this book. Ravan and Eddie is one of my all-time favourite reads, and a book I recommend to friends very often.

It is evocative, emotional and beautifully descriptive. A story about self-discovery and coming-of-age, set in the crowded chawls of Mumbai.
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book kept beating me against all odds, tempting me with chances to call it off and put it down for an entire day but I wasn't able to. A sparkling black book about Marathi coming of age. Ravan and Eddie is innocence that has raven blood.
Dwaipayan Dhar Chowdhury
I found it quite ordinary. Nothing worth recommending. if you don't read it, you are not missing anything
Manjiri mazgaonkar
The post independence Mumbai was reminiscent of all the stories I've heard growing up. The sarcasm and dark humor of Mr Nagarkar makes it s great read.
Jun 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one, really!
Recommended to Manu by: Naeem
What is it with Nagarkar and the film industry in Bombay? Nearly everything you read by him has (by way of a preface or post-script) some mention of his failed attempts at converting his books into a film. Yes, yes! Heroic expressiveness opposing a faceless commercialism is inspiring, but, to put it directly, a little too repetitive. Dwelling on this brush-off reveals too easily our own acceptance of cliches and the author's own insecurities by proudly revealing his wounds. To quote Sean Connery ...more
Nov 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very strong comic novel about the slightly intersecting lives of two boys--a Catholic and a Hindu--in one of the Bombay chawls, growing up in the 50s. While it has some of the epic trappings of a Rushdie novel (the boys' birth roughly coinciding with Indian independence), the virtues here are almost always located in the details. Neither boy has a particularly warm upbringing--remote mothers and absent fathers and surrogates abound--yet their travails and rites of passage are rendered in grati ...more
Anas Bashir
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ravan and Eddie by Kiran Nagarkar is by far one of the best works of fiction I have read in recent times. Written in mid-90s, it's a story of two boys of different faiths and how their worlds collide with each other. Set in Mumbai of 70s, the writer evocatively describes the chawl and its resident and their idiosyncrasies that you feel you are staying with them, especially the scene where the women are filling water from the community tap.

The story has a bit of everything -- the subtle and not-
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Strange book, another one where nothing happens but this time the writer is not Japanese but Indian. He tells the story of two kids growing up in Bombay during the 60's (more or less) but instead of reading a book that I would have soon gave up, I decided to keep on reading to form an idea of wat it was like to grow up in something similar to a slum.

Strano libro, altro romanzo dove non accade niente di particolare, ma stavolta l'autore è indiano e non giapponese e racconta la storia di due ragaz
Anushka Bhatia
I was longing to get my hands on another Kiran Nagarkar book after being completely mesmerised and awed by the masterpiece that was Cuckold. Although this book does not come close to the award winning Cuckold, it does hold on its own. It kept me hooked as it was profound one moment and savage the next. The author uses some dark humor, bawdy language and wacky twists to keep the momentum going. There is no real or tangible plot however there is an inventory of absorbing stories weaved together wi ...more
Ashwini Nocaste
Oct 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings on this one - perhaps, same is the reason for me to be not able to come up with concrete views on this book. But yea, i had totally different expectations from this book when i read the info on goodreads and perhaps thats why i feel slightly let down. Nothing about this book is extraordinary, or out of the box or simmering enough to merit a mention, but yet the book manages to pull through; there will not be a dull moment, but neither will there be anything about it that yo ...more
Gautam Moharil
This is a novel set in the 1950s in Mazagaon, Mumbai. The setting is a chawl and it's a story of two boys from lower middle class families and their adventures. It's a excellent look into this chawl life, the community divide, the family dynamics and life post independence.

But it also has a few drawbacks. The language is not up to the mark and we immediately realize that English is not the author's first language. The other thing is the author in the name of making this novel humorous tries atte
Shoba Sriaiyer
Brilliant, realistic narrative, and tongue-in-cheek opinions about religion, men, women, life in a Mumbai chawl.
Eddie, Ravan, Parvati Bhai, Violet, Lalee, Shankar Rao, Shobhan are all people who stay with you long after you have finished reading the book. No wonder the author followed this up with the very successful "The Extras". Language is clear and evocative. There is direct description of sex, so if some bawdiness offends will.

I loved how Kiran got across so many philosophical,
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've never read books that aren't proper mainstream or by an accomplished author. So this was a first for me. The overall story the book contains is somewhat interesting, however it is a bit convoluted and lacks flow. The style of writing of Kiran Nagarkar is unique and interesting.

Certain quotes in the book were quite philosophical. Those quotes really give an insight to the kind of a person the author is. Besides, Kiran Nagarkar does a great job of fitting in epiphanies in the middle of narra
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This will probably be one of my favourite books this year - equal parts insightful, funny and hopeful. It's not very often that you read a story of poverty and loneliness that leaves you feeling upbeat. Of late I've been thinking about the language and style in which it would be possible to write about India and Nagarkar captures that - with quick cuts, descriptions that sound like frames from Bollywood movies, and absolutely fantastic dialogue - Nagarkar combines irreverence and a pair of buoya ...more
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Keeping aside my bias for books with the backdrop of Bombay, Ravan & Eddie is a stellar example of how great stories are built on great characters. I'm just wowed by the life of these two young boys who never knew how to give up on life. You feel for them, you cry for them and then you laugh on their unintentional misfortunes. It reminded me so much of Suketu Mehta's Maximum City and Katherine Boo's Behind The Beautiful Forevers, yet this one is a class in its own league.
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My first book by Kiran Nagarkar and it's a disappointment. Nothing in the plot caught my attention and as a result turned out to be a slow read. Maybe a part of my childhood being spent in Mumbai and experienced the life in a chawl affects my feelings with this book. Took to read it thinking of travelling back to the memories but nothing like it. I kind of dragged myself towards the end. I guess this is the last of Nagarkar for me.
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Kiran Nagarkar was born in Bombay in 1942. In addition to plays and screenplays, he has written four novels, establishing his reputation as an outstanding representative of contemporary Indian literature. His books are a target of ideological critique due to the hybrid nature of his version of postcolonialism, involving irreverence alongside seriousness.

Nagarkar studied at the Ferguson College in
More about Kiran Nagarkar...

Other Books in the Series

Ravan & Eddie (3 books)
  • The Extras
  • Rest in Peace: Ravan and Eddie

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