Thrity Umrigar Journalist, Author and Critic - home more about thrity umrigar author

Bombay Time, Thrity Umrigar's debut novel, portrays the lives of longtime residents of an apartment building and is an examination of their bonds with each other as well as their love-hate relationship with the city of their birth.

All of the residents of Wadia Baug are Parsis, members of a small ethnic minority, whose relative affluence and Western orientation makes them stand out in a city of mass poverty. Now the son of Jimmy Kanga, the resident success, is getting married and all the neighbors are invited. As each of the guest's disparate, poignant stories unfold we follow the slow dissolution of Rusi and Coomi Bilimoria's marriage, the fatal betrayal suffered by Rusi's friend, Soli Contractor, the rise of Jimmy Kanga, and the sad case of the reclusive Tehmi Engineer. Above all, the novel gives us a sense of how this close knit Parsi community copes with individual struggles through humor, hope and courage.

Bombay Time is also an exploration of the inside-outsider status of the Parsis of India, political refugees from Persia who arrived in India a millennium ago and grew to be one of its most affluent communities.

Praise for Bombay Time:

"Bombay throbs with life and death, crowded, hot, dirty, and volatile...[This novel] is a warmhearted look at human nature, with all its strengths and flaws exposed. . . . Umrigar proves a good storyteller who is especially adept at capturing relationships." - The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"With the unflinching gaze of a Diane Arbus protege, Umrigar pulls each of [her characters] into and out of focus to reveal the definitive-at times profoundly intimate-events of their respective lives. . . . [A] dazzling debut." - The Hartford Courant

"[Umrigar] displays an impressive talent for conceiving multidimensional, sympathetic characters with life-like emotional quandaries and psychological stumbling blocks." - The Washington Post Book World

"Engaging. . . . Umrigar is an accomplished, natural storyteller. . . . She also manages to work in a portrait of the decline of Bombay, delivering an impressive debut offering a glimpse into a cultural world-especially that of the Parsis, an ethnic minority-that most Westerners know only in its barest outlines." - Publishers Weekly

"Umrigar has an acute ear for dialogue, and a gift for unmasking the complexities of personal relationships. As she sifts through her characters' personalities she dredges up layers of envy, hope, bitterness, grudges, regret, joy and the glue of shared memory that binds these people in unexpected ways. Wise and nuanced, Bombay Time grips the reader's attention." - Bapsi Sidhwa, author of Cracking India

"Bombay Time's" wonderful cast of characters and their tragically funny stories stay with you long after you finish reading this bittersweet novel. Thrity Umrigar's heart is as big as her homeland, and this is a beautiful novel."--Brad Watson, National Book Award finalist and author of The Heaven of Mercury.

"Umrigar's vivid and easy prose carries the reader into the heart of these families, limning their neighborhoods, their desires, their hopes, and failures."--Milwaukee-Journal-Sentinel

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