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The City of Devi

The City of Devi [Kindle Edition]

Manil Suri
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Wild, kaleidoscopic . . . dazzling.

Book Description

A dystopia like no other, Manil Suri paints a vibrant portrait of an India on the brink of collapse, two figures travelling across the unknown in a world scarily close to the modern day

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1696 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (14 Mar 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #176,845 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but uneven 3 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Having read and enormously enjoyed Manil Suri's two previous books I was very much looking forward to The City Of Devi. But I was quite a bit disappointed. Although he still writes well and the story has sparks and moments of intense interest and "dark humour", I found the book every uneven and although I enjoyed the human interest of the story of the three main characters, I was bored and confused by the general setting of the"apocalyptic war and imminent nuclear menace hanging over Mumbai
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 24 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a truly wonderful story by a master-storyteller. In brief it is about the pursuit of an academic by his wife and gay lover against the backdrop of a post-apocalypse Bombay. The story captures India beautifully from the manic sectarian hatred of the Hindu and Muslim hard-liners to the wonderful nuttiness of the cult of a living child Saint against the ruins of familiar Bombay landmarks ruined by a devastating Indo-Pak war. A truly wonderful book with superb characterisation especially the bitchy gay hero. Do not miss this jewel.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good book.... 1 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My sister asked me to order this for her as she is an avid reader of the weird and wonderful. It arrived in time, was well packaged, and she is eager to return to her home in Italy to begin reading. Can't comment for her but I am sure she will thoroughly enjoy it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Breathtaking Book about Love and Loss in Mumbai 20 Jan 2013
By Vivek Tejuja - Published on
I started reviewing books when I first read, "The Death of Vishnu" by Manil Suri. In fact, that review is also one of the first on this blog. From there on I have read everything that he has written, not because of the fact stated above, but because I admire his writing and his thought process. Suri has the uncanny ability to make so much sense of ordinary situations. His characters aren't larger than life, however the circumstances are and with good reason - to move the plot ahead, to make the reader see and above all, to make them feel.

It is no wonder that I absolutely loved reading his new book, "The City of Devi" (the last in the not so connected series). "The City of Devi" has been touted as a dystopian novel; however I did not think it had anything to do with it. The story as his other two books has been set in Mumbai. It is about Sarita, a thirty-three year old statistician (the math angle did not surprise me considering Manil is a mathematician) who can throughout only think of one thing: To be reunited with her physicist husband Karun, who has disappeared. The times are tough: Mumbai is emptying itself under the threat of a nuclear annihilation. There are not many people left. This has almost led to anarchy. The past can but only be remembered.

Amidst all this Sarita sets out to search for her husband, in-between the gang wars of Hindus and Muslims (this angle makes you also choke a little). With her is Jaz, a Muslim whose religion is only to have sex with other men. That is what he enjoys the most - sex and nothing else and at the same time he is looking for his own lover in the city. The third angle to the book is the Goddess Devi herself who has materialized on the beach to save her city. Sarita, Jaz and Devi play their roles in the book from there on. That in short, is the summary of the book.

The book is quite unusual. Something that probably has never been tried by an Indian writer. The book is easy to read and yet there were times, I had to stop and think more about the scene I had just read or turn back the pages and read some parts all over again. Devi and her role in the book is humongous (but of course), and yet it is so calming at times, that I almost wished that she would materialize in this time and age to save her city. On the other hand, I could most relate to Jaz and his dilemma - the way he is searching for answers and not finding any.

Manil's writing is direct in most parts and yet the web he weaves of storytelling almost leaves the reader breathless. His descriptions of a dying city are breathtaking. You can relate and yet at times, you choose not to. The city comes alive with his words and that is the power of some great writing. The situations he creates aren't easy, the answers provided are not black or white, and yet as you turn the pages of "The City of Devi" all you want is to feel the city and hope that the characters' lives are sorted. A must read this season.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Caricature Assassination On The Beach - or - "This is India, after all" 6 Sep 2013
By S. L. Smith - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The City of Devi has an anime feel to it with its fantasy approach to a very big problem: the end of the world. It contains the genre's requisite sexual themes (and positions), invisible danger, magical objects, superpowers, heroes and villains, and graphic anti-humor.

Our heroine Sarita is on a mission to find her husband, who has disappeared during a curious conference and may be in danger. She's a bit of a prima donna, yet fiercely focused on her journey as she is saved from one catastrophe by a different catastrophe. Sarita is nonplussed by the panoply of pandemonia she encounters: gangs, ground warfare, imminent nuclear annihilation, a literal crazy train, elephants, circus cults, never enough Marmite, a Wizard, particle physics, an absurd aquarium, train derailments (both literal and figurative), a levitating mascot, glow-in-the-dark saris, floods and a tourist version of Noah's Ark, all tied to the rising price of pomegranates.

I enjoyed the book's "normal" first section, especially the scenes of Sarita and Karun attempting to consummate their marriage of two years. (Ominously, their wedding coincided with the beginning of the war.) These scenes are not carnal; instead, they are imaginative and full of inventive uses of yoga and gaming. These moments impart a quiet beauty in the midst of a nascent chaos. But then Sarita boards that crazy train, and the real fantasy train wreck begins.

The City of Devi got particularly arduous for me in the last quarter. I forced myself to finish the book just to see who lives and who dies. So perhaps Manil Suri was successful in creating an anxiety in me about the characters, that I should care even that much. Or perhaps I was just anxious that ANY of the characters would survive.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best read so far this year 29 Sep 2013
By Jeffrey R.Brosbe - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The many levels of symbolism make the good story that much better. The dual narrators add to the depth of perception of human motivation.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to the standard of his first two titles 26 Nov 2013
By Akash - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I read the other two books in this "trilogy" and really enjoyed them. It's mostly a thematic trilogy that shares some ideas and motifs but not any sort of plot continuity at all. The product description here covers the plot quite aptly so I won't rehash that. I will say that this book didn't grab me quite in the same way that the past ones have, I didn't develop quite the same affinity for the characters. Overall it felt much more clinical. This title felt like a mathematician wrote it where I surprised to learned that one wrote the previous two novels. But it's a nice little portrait of mumbai on the brink of nuclear holocaust, and I can't say there are many other titles that offer that.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent but depressing 4 Nov 2013
By Avidreader - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Decent narrative though it paints quite a depressing picture of the future. If you are the kind that is easily depressed, then stay far far away from this.
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