Swimming Lessons, and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag

Rohinton Mistry, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $16.95 (250p) ISBN 978-0-395-49862-0
A native of Bombay who has lived in Canada since 1975, Mistry published this collection in England and Canada in 1987. His reputation in those countries, and in India, has led to comparisons to Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth and others. The world of Mistry's stories is a Bombay apartment complex. Various inhabitants are examined in interlocking narratives that evoke brilliantly the textures of this exotic yet startlingly knowable setting. In ""Condolence Visit"" a widow who refuses to behave according to her neighbors' expectations gives away her husband's pugree (a ceremonial headpiece). In ""Paying Guests,"" bizarre tenants cannot be budged by a hapless couple who never should have allowed the arrangement. The narrator of the title story interweaves an account of learning to swim with imagined scenes of his parents reading a packet of his stories and responding with concern and delight over literal details. ""You are confusing fiction with facts,"" points out the father to his wife. ""You must not confuse cause and effect."" These 11 short narratives form an elegant mosaic that should confirm Mistry as a rising star in the literary firmament. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1989
Release date: 02/01/1989
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-14-012807-9
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