2008: #24 – The Death of Vishnu (Manil Suri)

14556264.JPGBook #24 was The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri. The back of the book reads:

Vishnu, the odd-job man in a Bombay apartment block, lies dying on the staircase landing: Around him the lives of the apartment dwellers unfold: the warring housewives on the first floor, lovesick teenagers on the second, and the widower, alone and quietly grieving on the top floor of the building. In a fevered state Vishnu looks back on his love affair with the seductive Padmim and wonders if he might actually be the god Vishnu, guardian of the entire universe.

Blending incisive comedy with Hindu mythology and a dash of Bollywood sparkle, The Death of Vishnu is an intimate and compelling view of an unforgettable world.

This was an unusual book, but good. Being only marginally familiar with Indian culture, there were things that seemed strange to me, like the whole concept of a man that lives on the stairs landing in exchange for running errands for people in the building. In a way, this book was a like a soap opera. There were feuding neighbors, a “forbidden love” situation between a Hindu girl and Muslim boy that leads to a tragedy, and a man whose arranged marriage comes to an untimely end. All of this is interspersed with the memories and hallucinations(?) of a dying man. Overall, I think this book is about the search for happiness and enlightenment, and how it may not be what you think it is.

Page count: 295 | Word count: 92,096

2007: Mistral’s Kiss (Laurell K. Hamilton)
2006: Micah (Laurell K. Hamilton)
2005: The Vile Village (Lemony Snicket)

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