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The City of Devi

(The Hindu Gods #3)

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  967 ratings  ·  187 reviews
As Mumbai empties under the threat of imminent nuclear annihilation, Sarita, a thirty-three-year-old statistician, can only think of one thing: being reunited with Karun, her physicist husband. Why has he vanished? Who is he running from? How will they form the family of three he s always wanted? To find him, Sarita must journey across the surreal landscape of a near-aband ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 1st 2013 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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erl It is fiction. A little Indian theology is tossed in, but I don't think it's very traditional. The approach to religion is often irreverent.…moreIt is fiction. A little Indian theology is tossed in, but I don't think it's very traditional. The approach to religion is often irreverent.(less)
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Jim Fonseca
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There’s a lot going on in this novel set in India. We’re in a post-apocalypse time in the near future. India and Pakistan have nuked each other and even though, as the author tells us, “Nuclear bombs are like potato chips, nobody can stop at just one,” it may be that they did just that: possibly only Mumbai and Karachi were hit. There’s also worldwide destruction going on: cyberwarfare (a cyber jihad) has exploded power plants, pipelines, airplanes and nuclear reactors in Canada and Europe. The ...more
Aleksandr Voinov
Jul 04, 2014 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)
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘The City of Devi’ is definitely one of the most enjoyable of my dystopia-keyword-library-catalogue-search finds. The blurb is quite coy about the plot, stating only that two people are searching for the person they love most in Mumbai, while the threat of nuclear annihilation hangs over the city. It’s actually much more fun than that might suggest. (view spoiler) ...more
Jan 28, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. judy-b.
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Ron Charles
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Vinod Peris
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 12, 2014 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Daman Sahni
Feb 23, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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)
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
Apr 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mathis Bailey
What drew me to this novel was the mysterious cover. It's pretty cool. Now, the story was okay. It was abit foolish at times, but entertaining nonetheless.It's not everyday that I read a LGBT story set in India. Very interesting. But I don't think this story is for everybody. Check out full review on my blog ...more
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A faced pace end of the world book that kept me on edge. Its witty dialogue kept me entertained along with such good leads made me adore the book.
Julie Babcock
Very weird. Watch out for very descriptive male on male scenes!
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible writing; genius.
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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

Other books in the series

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

Articles featuring this book

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“Perhaps this was the greatest genius of the cyber jihadis: the monopoly they clinched on information. They realized how helplessly addicted the population had become to knowing in this information age. So what if news was tainted or unreliable? - people needed their daily fix.” 4 likes
“Endings need to be lived, they cannot be ordained.” 4 likes
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