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The Lost Flamingoes Of Bombay

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  785 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Hardcover, 349 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Viking Books
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Average rating 3.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  785 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Nov 17, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't manage to finish this book. The prose is terrible, full of sexual metaphors so appallingly awful that it seemed as if the book had been written by an immature 12 year old desperate for attention. Feeling wary after the first chapter, I flipped forward through the book to find: "Glee dripped out of Natasha like precum"; "smugness blasted out of her face like a fart”; “Priya had a crusty librarian’s voice, one that could only be relieved by a dildo." All are phrases that certainly got m ...more
Asha Seth
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, indian-lit, mumbai
This year, I have pledged to read books mostly on Mumbai, its history, etc. So, I picked this up when Google threw it at me as one of the top 10 books on Mumbai. Now I wonder who put that list together. Apart from subtle references of the city with a poetic pen, nothing was interesting or even satisfactory. With bleak characters groping for overrated celebs, a lost, new-in-the-city, protagonist, plot taken right off the frame of a popular Bollywood flick, a spoilt politician's son, and the most ...more
Sep 21, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You've heard all too often about a young, lost, upper-middle class 20-something in love with Bombay: the 'city that never sleeps', a cliche outdone only with old favourite, 'the spirit of Mumbai.' However, that is not what this book is really about. It's about - well, I'm not really sure what it's about. It clearly revolves around the murder of a famous model shot in a bar, inspired by the real life story of Jessica Lal, who was shot down in a Mumbai bar years ago. But what purpose that sub-plot ...more
Satyabrata Mishra
I've always loved tales about Bombay, from Shantaram to beyond the beautiful forevers. The lost flamingoes of Bombay opened up another door to Bombay for me, the Fitzgeraldian veneer of contemporary society. Read it to understand what an artist feels, the thoughts that run in his head and the debauched depression all artists are burdened with. ...more
A photographer looking to capture the hidden beauty and truth of Bombay, a semi-retired pianist and his American writer boyfriend, a beautiful Bollywood actress, a married woman who sacrificed her pottery ambitions for her husband and a politician. On the surface, the book is about how their lives intersect and what they do for love, the love of a friend, the love of a soul-mate, the love in a torrid affair and the love (or guilt) of a parent.

But look deeper and we're treated to the dirty insid
Nov 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shanghvi's prose is so laden with adjectives and metaphors that it is actually quite a triumph that the characters and plot come through at all. His descriptions are generally awkward (sometimes cringingly so), but occasionally poetic and apt. The same goes for his dialogue -- most of the time leaden and implausible, but occasionally moving and heartfelt. The writing made me want to hate this book, but I found myself drawn to the characters despite myself. Still, not recommended unless you have ...more
Siddharth Dhanwant Sanghvi warmed my heart with his first book ‘The Last Song of the Dusk’. I wanted more of him but was scared what if it fails to recreate the same magic. Then I read that he only wrote one book post that and has now retired from the writing world. I wondered what could be the reason for such a talented and soulful writer that some negative criticism would lead to him giving up the love of his life – WRITING. Surely I had to read the book.

To read more:
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indian-authors
Disappointed, esp in comparison to 'Last song of Dusk'.
This reads like a Madhur Bhandarkar script. Movie stars, politicians, pianists, parties, homosexuals.
Everyone talks in metaphors and hyperboles.
The most touching character is a dog.
The most explosive drama is directly lifted from the Jessica Lall murder.
Oct 10, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was a good storyline but overdose of tragedy and somehow even though whats happening in the book is sad you dont feel for the characters.. This is one of the could have been books..
Praveen Palakkazhi
Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi's first novel, ‘The Last Song of Dusk’, was an engrossing tale which managed to toe the fine line between graceful prose and compelling story and come out a winner. What a pity that his second one, despite some beautiful ruminations on love and life, fails to live up to the very high standards he set with his debut novel.

This one also has a beautiful and meaningful title though. The flamingoes which migrate in their thousands every year to the mudflats of Sewri is th
Sundarraj Kaushik
A book about a set of characters from the high-society in Bombay. The book revolves around the life of a gifted photographer, Karan, from Simla who has moved to Bombay to make his living. As an assignment he is asked to photograph a gay pianist who has stopped playing piano and is now living with his american boyfriend. Karan manages to take not so flattering photographs of the pianist and on the basis of these he manages to get a private photography session with the pianist. On the side Karan i ...more
Nov 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book started off with promise, with the central character looking at the city of Bombay through his lens exactly the way I had looked at the city that once captured my mind. The relationships feel into place too conveniently, but they often do in real life too. Loved part I.
Then the book came apart. Part II felt like re-reading news and tabloid magazines from the 1980s and 1990s. The prose lacked appeal.
Part III onwards, the book went on autopilot. There were flashes of tenderness, and mom
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Do I like the cover?: Not really.  It feels like a throwaway.  As Karan's photography is the focus of the novel, I would have loved a black and white photo of Bombay instead.

Review: This novel is a bit like a tabloid-tell-all, set in Bombay, and I mean that in the best way.  A reclusive pianist, a Bollywood star, a repressed artist, a Nick Carraway-ish photographer: the cast is appropriately superficial and self-destructive and yet, as we -- and Karan Seth, the outsider-turned-insider -- discov
Dilesh Bansal
Jun 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indian-fiction
I love reading Shanghvi's elaborately picturesque prose.

I kind of like the way he forebodes important scenes with some metaphor mostly using some animal. Like an innocent sparrow dying by hitting into the courtroom fan just before the verdict.

It seems there are portions in the book when he is at his creative best, and there are portions where he gets engrossed in the plot and the prose becomes bland and dull.

Even if I can skim over the little too many sexual metaphors, one crib I have is ther
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark ending, but beautiful descriptions of Bombay.
Shayonnita Mallik
What a beautiful mess this book is!

Over run by metaphors that try too hard to be beautiful, characters that reek of too much insensitive self-improvement, and a strange story mired in real facts—The Lost Flamingos of Bombay meanders around wonderfully, establishes a storyline, and then petters off and dies somewhere.

25-year-old Karan comes to Bombay with hope in his eyes and a camera in his hands, where on a project he meets Samar, an elusive ex-pianist, who left dramatically in the middle of
Any author trying to write about Bombay or Mumbai will include bollywood, politics, gang wars, slums, media and so on. This novel too has all that. So how is this novel any different? This is the third book based on streets of Mumbai that I have read; and as a reader I did not feel one bit bored.

City of Mumbai unlike any other city in India; holds so many stories that any author walking into the city can find a new plot. My previous two reads were from authors who narrated real life incidents- S
Sreesha Divakaran
This review originally appeared on Rain and a Book

The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay is a book that you don’t really need to read. Think of all the crimes committed by celebrities/politicians/sons-of-the-baap-in-tu-jaanta-hai-mera-baap-kaun-hai, blend in a little bit of this, a cupful of that, and you have a mishmash of a “novel”, allegedly “fictional”, that gives the tabloid treatment to serious issues.

Let me begin by saying how smitten I was by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi’s first novel, The Last So
Monica Rodriguez
I really liked the premise of this and the nuggets of beautiful prose. I think the organization of multiple perspectives lost me at times. I found myself drifting off or forgetting who I was reading about.
A case study in terrible writing, editing and, I can only presume, nepotism. It beggars belief that someone published this puerile attempt at storytelling. Unreadable beyond the first chapter, and getting through those few pages was a vast struggle.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book was very poetic and descriptive. It was fraught with emotion: love, sorrow, and happiness. The book was well written and very enjoyable.
Apoorva Bharthur
Derivative and unimaginative. Felt like a terrible Bollywood movie with superfluous language which was just cringeworthy in many parts of the book.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great sense of place.
Maddy Barker
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everything is this book is written with beautiful, colorful, poetic language. A complicated story dressed is the loveliness of words.
Jyothi Lakshmi
This book took me a long while to finish. The story in itself is something we have heard much too often. Aspiring young man travels to Bombay to capture its essence and the city changes him. Here, Karan Seth,a photographer wants to do just the same. Along his journey he meets the famous and controversial pianist Samar Arora, his companion Leo, his best friend and soulmate the actress Zaira, their lovechild the dog named Sir Walter Davis. Unexpected friendships blossoms and everything is merry un ...more
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay is a difficult book to summarise.

In one respect it is a tragedy of characters (for Shanghvi crafts each presence as a character) thrown together by circumstance, paying homage to the most potent character of them all, the City of Bombay. It's an ode to the greatest literary composition on chance encounters and accidental friendships, Fitzegrald's Great Gatsby. It is also hyperbolic Bollywood Noir with the brazen, saturated colour that only Arvind Adiga succeeds in (
Sep 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[The Lost Flamingos of Bombay] is an astute homage to a city teeming with people and loneliness. Following the lives of several characters who range from failed a piano virtuoso, struggling to love the man who shares his life to a housewife who surrendered her artistic career for the comforts of her husband's love, Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi's most-recent novel is yet another book about artists becoming artists and pretty, young things coming to grips with the real world, yet in this work, Shan ...more
Dalton Babcock
I received this book a long time ago (for free from GoodReads First Reads), or at least what seems like a long time ago (about 4 years). When I first tried to read I was in the tail end of one of my great readings (a period in my life where for some period of time I read in abundance, to then not read for some time in any significant amount). I read the first three chapters (my bookmark was still there when I started to read it again) and I thought the prose was terrible. Not untalented but horr ...more
I read this book for one of my book clubs. It's a good thing that I did because in our discussion of the book we discovered that only one of us actually really realized what had happened at the end of the book on our own. One person did actually get the meaning from the text, one realized it after reading the discussion questions included in the book, and the rest of us apparently completely misinterpreted what happened.

If you haven't figured out already based on that introduction this book is
Leslie Reese
This book is racy and descriptive and full of witty, brilliant, idiosyncratic, and successful artists (---and a little white dog named Mr. Ward-Davies---) who experience great worldly adventures...until tragedy strikes---they are the lost flamingoes. The narrative is loaded with words from the Indian lexicon, and I wished that a glossary had been included. It’s all about being hip and brash and indulgent. Siddharth Dhanvaht Shanghvi’s writing style has some good metaphors and plenty of newly-cra ...more
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Shanghvi was born in Juhu, Mumbai, India in 1977. He is an alumnae of Mumbai’s Mithibai College, and later pursued an MA in International Journalism at the University of Westminster, London, where he specialised in Photography in 1999.
He is an Indian author in English-language whose notable books include, The Last Song of Dusk and The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay. His book, The Last Song of Dusk, has

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