Author: Ken Doyle
Genre: Short Stories/Cultural
Publication Date: February 2013
Description: Like the ubiquitous snack food, bhel puri, Bombay Bhel blends a variety of ingredients to serve up glimpses of life among the Goan and Anglo-Indian communities–minorities in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. The interlinked stories are set in the late twentieth century, before a wave of anticolonialism crested across India and resulted in Bombay’s rechristening.
The stories feature everyday characters who face challenges unique to Bombay life, from the schoolboy who forms an unlikely friendship with a street vendor to the retired serviceman whose livelihood is threatened by the city’s notorious bureaucracy. Readers familiar with Bombay will reawaken their memories, while those new to the city will experience a taste of its varied flavors.
Review by Judy G.:
These stories all take place in Bombay from early times when many were destitute and trying to live on meager earnings to modern times after the name had changed to Mumbai.
The local food is prominent in the stories as the titles show and I learned much about the Indian cuisine in Bombay.
These are well-written stories and fast reading and the characters really come to life. You can feel their suffering, confusion, and personal loss. In each story, there is a life-changing event which leads to a very abrupt and depressing ending. I would have liked to have known more about what happened to each of the characters.