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Bombay Time

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,025 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
At the wedding of a young man from a middle-class apartment building in Bombay, the men and women of this unique community gather together and look back on their youthful, idealistic selves and consider the changes the years have wrought. The lives of the Parsi men and women who grew up together in Wadi Baug are revealed in all their complicated humanity: Adi Patel's disin ...more
Kindle Edition, 271 pages
Published (first published 1990)
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Marcy
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thrity Umrigar continues to be one of my favorite Indian authors! This story takes place in Bombay. A group of "young" Parsi friends gather as "old" friends at the wedding of a son of one friend. Each friend at the wedding has a story that he/she relives at the wedding. The father of the groom left for England as a young man, to be educated, only to come back to Bombay as a lawyer, to become a big fish in a small sea, feeling comfortable being Indian only in India. This same friend lived his dre ...more
Neeraja S
Jun 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel follows a different style of story-telling. It tells the stories of the different occupants of Wadia Baug, an apartment complex in Bombay, housing a well-knit Parsi community. In the throes of their late middle-age, the members of the community nostalgically look back at their lives and wonder at the early dreams, hopes and happiness their lives held, and the detours and disappoints that fate threw their way to break their wings of hope. Despite the uneven bittersweet journey they tra ...more
Louise
Mar 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have come to truly love and appreciate Thrity Umrigar's novels. With an unparalelled ability to create well-drawn characters who seem to come to life on the page, and story lines that speak the truth about life and living as a Parsi in India, Umrigar is a rare talent that everyone should read.

In "Bombay Time" we are introduced to the Parsi residents of an apartment house in Bombay. Rusi Bilimoria is one of the residents who made some unfortunate choices early in his life and he must now live w
...more
Amanda
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh, I love Umrigar, don't get me wrong. However, this book was definitely a task to get through. In fact, I am not even all the way done, but I am just exhausted.[return][return]What exhausts me? Well, the overabundance of names, for one. It seemed as if on each page five new characters were introduced. Then, when Umrigar began to finally settle down on a couple of characters, they would flashback and therefore a slew of other characters would be dragged up.[return][return]When Umrigar did settl ...more
Diane Lynn
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, fiction
This is Thrity Umrigar's first book. Her characters are very well drawn. I enjoyed learning about their lives and seeing how they all fit together in this tight knit Parsi community.

Friends from Wadi Baug (a middle class apartment building in Bombay) are gathering for a wedding. Throughout the day of the wedding we get to know all of the people through flashbacks. We see them grow and cross paths over about 50 years. Each character is shown through his or her own point of view. I liked some of t
...more
Mrtruscott
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second by Umrigar, her first. I’m leaning toward a 4.5 (with irrational bias on my part). The many previous reviews detail the book’s specifics.

I particularly liked the structure, with an apartment building as the stage for the many! vivid characters. Reminiscent of Tales of the City (how long ago did I read that?).

The places we live are, or can be, so important in shaping our friendships, memories, and lives. My nomadic family uses the name of the house we lived in as shorthand for time-stam
...more
Candice
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Thrity Umrigar's first novel but I have read and enjoyed several of her others. This one is a good character sketch of several characters who have inhabited Wadia Baug, an apartment complex in Bombay in the late 80s or early 90s. The residents gather at a wedding and we are privy to their thoughts as they reflect on the years that have passed since they were a group of youngsters in Wadia Baug. Umrigar does not shy away from writing about things that should make most readers uncomfortabl ...more
Kristin
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book I've read by Thrity Umrigar. I didn't like "The Weight og Heaven," and I LOVED "The Space Between Us." This book, for me, was very good, but not quite as great as "The Space Between Us." This book reads a bit like a book of short stories, and to be honest, I hate books of short stories. But this book is saved by the fact that all of the stories relate to each other and the charcaters all go in and out of the related stories. The book is a bunch of chapters, or stories, of ...more
Momster2001
May 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
This is Ms. Umrigar's first book and so I was curious if it would live up to her later book,The Space Between Us, which I adored. Obviously Ms. Umrigar has been a talented author from the beginning. SHe has once again created a world of characters I care about; ones whose lives are complicated by social stratification in India. In Bombay Time we are thrown into the world of several families who live in Wadia Baug, an apartment complex. Each couple is looking back at their youth when they first m ...more
Pamela Joy
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: umrigar
She remains my current favorite author. This was yet another excellent read, not only in storyline, dialog and her ability to develop each character, but I am also very much enjoying learning about the culture and peoples of India.
This book was different again from the others I've ready by Umrigar. In this book, individuals are developed by-the-each in succession, and the story is woven as their lives intertwine and culminate in the celebration of a wedding. By the end of the book I feel as thou
...more
Elise
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thrity Umrigar's "Bombay Time" is a setting and character driven novel that is organized episodically, but still has the power to pull you into its world with gusto and to break your heart more than once. I loved these sad and aging characters who had so much to teach about life, love, loss, and regret. So many of these characters will haunt me, filling my days with their wisdom long after I have finished reading this book.
Ami
Oct 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, this will be the last book I read from this author. This last one was actually quite good. She seems to have a recurring theme of focusing on character development in all of her books....and I think she finally accomplished it the way she meant to in this book. It gets a bit confusing since it goes back and forth through so many characters, but it ties together nicely in the end.
Kathleen Payne
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book takes place..."At the wedding of a young man from a middle-class apartment building in Bombay, the men and women of this unique community gather together and look back on their youthful, idealistic selves and consider the changes the years have wrought. The lives of the Parsi men and women who grew up together in Wadi Baug are revealed in all their complicated humanity: Adi Patel's disintegration into alcoholism; Dosamai's gossiping tongue; and Soli Contractor's betrayal and heartbreak ...more
Cindy
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A character profile worthy of a dramatization. I love all these people, warts and all, and Thrity makes it easy for us to understand them.
Dani
Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love her other books so much but this just didn't do it for me!
Sherilyn Siy
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great storytelling. I couldn't put the book down.
Ellen
Oct 05, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, gave-up
The author writes passages so well and describes characters so well. Her small scenes are like miniature portraits. I would give four stars to some of them. I also like her use of poetic devices.
But, it was tedious getting through the beginning of the book. I decided that I didn't like the women and didn't know the men yet, so I just gave up. I'll read some reviews to learn the plot since I would like to know what happens to Rusi.
Ellen
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 8 chapters of this were great, providing a clear view of the themes Umrigar would ultimately continue to return to in her later work, in chapters that could almost serve as several distinct short stories.
However, the last two chapters bothered me. I felt as though if the poor people were going to be so vital, they should have been introduced earlier and in greater depth. Otherwise they feel like a deus ex machina used to get a climax that wasn't really necessary. Yes, certain chapters
...more
Christiane
The premise is not new : glimpses into the lives of people living in an apartment building in Bombay - Rohinton Mistry has done it before ("Tales from Firozsha Baag", "Such a long Journey") and so has Aravind Adiga ("Last man in Tower"). I think it is to Thrity Umrigar's credit that this book seems fresh and original

Her characters are entirely real and the author manages to involve us in their lives practically from the start. The book is pervaded by a feeling of nostalgia for lost youth, lost l
...more
Joe Boenzi
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having spent two summers in India, and having visited Bombay (Mumbai), I found the book realistic and riveting.

Author Thrity Umrigar probes beneath the jolly appearances of life among India's struggling middle class by joining a group of middle-aged friends who celebrate a wedding of one of the children. Most of the characters of the books are Parsi, and members of one of India's religious minorities. Yet, while they are proudly Parsi, they are also fiercely Indian. As they eat and chat, drink
...more
Akalpita
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked Thrity Umrigar's writing style. It is simple and well narrated.
The storyline is about the Parsi community lived in Wadia baug in Bombay. Author drew a very realistic picture of the members of Parsi community & their culture.
The novel unfolds with each chapter introducing the life of each member. It tells us about the lives & times of people and how their lives interlaced with each other. The book has too many characters but at the same time all have very interesting stori
...more
Naomi
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Umrigar's gift for storytelling is quite rare, and reading this book was purely engaging. . . not to mention highly recommended. In addition to broaching the topics of a changing India (and an increasingly commercialized world), Umrigar deftly incorporates the intriguing tales of a number of people. After meeting the protagonists on the pages of this book, you feel as if they are old friends, folks you should call to make sure they are doing all right. Exceptionally memorable characters, creativ ...more
Mel Raschke
This is a new author for me. I believe this is the author's first book. I will be reading her other books. This beautifully constructed novel quickly seduces the reader with strong imagery, pitch perfect dialogue, vibrant characters, and beautifully realized interrelationships which extend well beyond the bounds of the apartment house they share in Bombay. All the characters are attending a wedding reception hosted by successful lawyer Jimmy Kanga for his son Mehernosh, the wedding reception ser ...more
Manu
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
Bombay Time is like an old group photograph, in which each face can be zoomed to tell its own story. In this case, its a wedding where each character starts reminiscing about their lives so far, each life intertwined with others, and creating patterns, each story teaching its own lessons.

While its set in Wadia Baug and among Parsis, the stories are more human than community specific and applies to any large group of people that grows up together and grows old together. Its a warm read that shows
...more
June
Jul 17, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think my expectations were perhaps unrealistically high after reading "The Space Between Us" and wanting to go out and read every book Thrity Umrigar ever wrote. The book is still a good one but it did seem all done before after having read "The Space between Us". I can most liken it to reading Joy Luck Club after reading The Kitchen God's Wife, with Bombay Time being Joy Luck Club. It isn't as deep as The Space Between Us and the many characters and story lines makes it as diffuse as Joy Luck ...more
Rob
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well written story of a group of people (mostly friends) who have grown up and lived in the same building complex for most of their lives.

The story takes place on the eve of a wedding of one of this group's most successful member's son.
As they gather together many reflect on their live's journey to this moment in time.

It is a most engaging story of a small group of people and their ups and downs in life.

While I am not Indian, I can well imagine that what the author portrays in her account
...more
Bea
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is really not like reading a novel, it is like reading a selection of short stories. All the characters live in an apartment building in India, and they are all connected, but if you read it like a novel it can seem disjointed. The author takes us through the lives of these people who are very emotional and filled with passion, envy, love, etc. If you like Thrity Umrigar, you may like this, but it is not at all like her novels "A Space Between Us" and "The Weight Of Heaven" and doesn't ...more
Aurora
Un'India senza malattia, senza Madre Teresa, senza piaghe e lebbra.
Un'India parsi, benestante, diversa, forte, ma non meno umana.
Proprio così, non meno umana.

Adi aprì la bocca per protestare, ma Philomena si era già alzata dalla sedia e troneggiava su di lui come una montagna: fiera, imperiale, incollerita. "Pensavo davvero che tu fossi diverso dagli altri uomini" gli disse, la bocca in una piega amara. "Ma hai dimostrato di essere un bambino, proprio come tutti gli altri".

da bc.com: http://auro

...more
Chanpheng
Jul 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book spans decades although it takes place on a single day - during a wedding. All the main characters attending the wedding grew up together, played with each other and confided in each other. But as years went by, they became different people. During the wedding, the POV shifts from one person to another to review the complex lives and emotions behind each person.

Read this book a few years ago and I'm enjoying it just as much as the first time. A different view of Indian family lives. Kind
...more
Lenore Beadsman64
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
matrimoni e disuguaglianze

Bombay, un intero quartiere a maggioranza Parsi si riunisce in occasione del matrimonio di uno dei figli del gruppo, l'occasione è buona per raccontare la storia di ciascuno, nel dettaglio e con abbondanza di caratterizzazione culturale, una lettura assai istruttiva, soprattutto per chi ne sa poco, una lezione di vita altra, diversa e lontana, il finale riporta tutto nei binari, questa non è Bollywood, anche se i protagonisti faticano ad ammetterlo, nessun posto è più l
...more
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A journalist for seventeen years, Thrity Umrigar has written for the Washington Post, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and other national newspapers, and contributes regularly to the Boston Globe's book pages. Thrity is the winner of the Cleveland Arts Prize, a Lambda Literary award and the Seth Rosenberg prize. She teaches creative writing and literature at Case Western Reserve University. The author ...more
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“Now the sun is wide awake, baring its teeth, making the sweat run down people's back. Before it will make its way across the sky and into the waiting arms of the Arabian Sea, so much will have happened: migrations into the city, births, marriages, dowry deaths, illicit love affairs, pay raises, first kisses, bankruptcy filings, traffic accidents, business deals, money changing hands, plant shutdowns, gallery openings, poetry readings, political discussions, evictions. Every event in human history will repeat itself today. Everything that ever happened will happen again today. All if life lived in a day. A day, a day. A silver urn of promise and hope. Another chance. At reinvention, at resurrection, at reincarnation. A day. The least and most of all of our lives.” 0 likes
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