Saturday, August 23, 2014

It's unusually ha-ha with Pinto's "Em and the big Hoom"

Jerry Pinto's "Em and the big Hoom" (2012) is a beautiful book that takes a brutally honest look at the world of a Goan boy living with a mentally ill mother in Mumbai. Em (the mother) and big Hoom (the father) are among the endearing yet eccentric characters that populate the world of a vulnerable narrator who has to cope with his mother's attempts to take her own life.

Pinto's first (and only) novel was about two decades in the making and the central character is based on his mother. The book provides insights into a serious illness, the lack of support for caregivers in India and how society wishes away the mentally afflicted.

And yet, the novel is also darkly funny and any reader would find it difficult to resist the charm of Em's imagination and utterances. Pinto is a master craftsman with dialogue and is perhaps the best contemporary Indian writer.

Read it. Love it. Recommend it.

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