Mumbai Fables

Mumbai Fables

Product ID: 31363

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Author: Gyan Prakash
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 2011
Language: English
Pages: 396
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9789350291665


A place of spectacle and ruin, Mumbai exemplifies the cosmopolitan metropolis. It is not just a big city but also a soaring imagination of modern urban life. Millions from India and beyond, of different ethnicities, languages, and religions, have washed up on its shores, bringing with them their desires and ambitions. Mumbai Fables explores the mythic inner life of this legendary city as visualized by its inhabitants, journalists, planners, writers, artists, film-makers and political activists.

Shedding light on the city's past and present; Mumbai Fables offers an unparalleled look at this extraordinary metropolis.


--- William Dalrymple, Glasgow Herald

[T]he most masterful history yet written about this celebrated, struggling city, a riveting narrative that reaches back to 1498 to explore the stories the metropolis has conspired to tell itself--and spun out for the world. . . . Prakash's Mumbai Fables sets a new standard in writing about cities, not just as a history of Mumbai but as an accessible history of any metropolis.
--- Naresh Fernandes, Time Out Mumbai

The best test of a city's biography, like [Mumbai Fables], is whether it makes the reader want to visit of not. Those who do, having read this book, will have a perceptive, if quirky, insight as their guide.
--- Times Literary Supplement

Princeton history professor Prakash weaves thrilling story lines about Bombay life depicted in movies, novels, and comic books with gripping true stories about the legendary Indian metropolis. . . . With an inviting style and inability to resist drama, Prakash creates lively portrayals of the major figures in the opium and cotton trades, the sensational reporting of the Blitz tabloid, and the horrific monsoons of the past decade.
--- Publishers Weekly

[T]he historian here is a first-rate storyteller.
--- S. Prasannarajan, India Today

The strength of Mumbai Fables is its treasury of cultural references about the city, and in this, it excels. Novels, short stories, newspapers, films, poems, paintings; the unique flavor of the place comes through powerfully.
--- Roderick Matthews, Literary Review

A majestic work of history. . . . Search for a single dull paragraph or a mildly boring chapter and you will be frustrated and defeated. . . . There is serious history here, which is very readable, and there is serious history of sex, murder, and scams reminiscent of the works of the novelist James Ellroy.
--- Arthur J. Pais, India Abroad

A delight. . . . Mumbai's history is almost as full of crime, corruption, terror, and chauvinism as of fabulous creativity. In Prakash's account, rightly, it is the latter which predominates.
--- Stephen Howe, Independent


"A fascinating exploration of my favorite city, full of insider knowledge and sharp insights."
--- Salman Rushdie

"Highly Recommended".
--- The Hindu

"A Delight".
--- Independent

"… Stands out as a well-told, detailed account of what all went into the making of the city of Mumbai".
--- Hindustan Times

"[An] excellent account of Mumbai …an insider's view of one of India's most exciting and unusual cities".
--- Sydney Morning Herald

"Gyan Prakash's Mumbai Fables is a thing of beauty".
--- Sunday Guardian


List of Illustrations

1. The Mythic City
2. The Colonial Gothic
3. The City on The Sea
4. The Cosmopolis and the Nation
5. The Tabloid and the City
6. From Red to Saffron
7. Planning and Dreaming
8. Avenger on the Street
9. Dream worlds