Mumbai Fables

Gyan Prakash, Author
Gyan Prakash. Princeton Univ., $29.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-691-14284-5
Open Ebook - 408 pages - 978-1-4008-3594-2
Paperback - 396 pages - 978-0-691-15317-9
Open Ebook - 424 pages - 978-1-283-08881-7
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Princeton history professor Prakash weaves thrilling storylines about Bombay life depicted in movies, novels, and comic books with gripping true stories about the legendary Indian metropolis in his first book, "probe[ing] the literary, cinematic, and artistic history of radical and anti-colonial imaginations of the cosmopolitan city" to "become aware of its aspirations and limits." Prakash's narratives span from 16th-century colonial rule to the modern-day city, dispelling the myth that Mumbai (known as Bombay until 1995) consists of simply the "compelling bookends" of a "nostalgic ‘tropical Camelot' and the dystopic city of slums." 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. His occasional commentary is welcome, as it usefully synthesizes the city's complex history for an audience of casual historians and/or Mumbai enthusiasts. With 16 color illustrations. (Oct.)
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