Prufrock's Page

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Shamsie's Quibble

In an appreciative review of Suketu Mehta's Maximum City in the Times Literary Supplement, novelist Kamila Shamsie points out that it's extremely male-oriented:

"Maximum City is not really interested in Bombay as experienced by women. Yes, there are the bar-line girls -- though they are a component of men's pleasure and occasional references to women here and there. When Mehta leaves the world of gangs, bars and Bollywood to write about the ordinary-yet-extraordinary people who try to live out their dreams in Bombay, he writes almost exclusively of men. Perhaps he is trying to say that this is another component of the city -- its male-centredness. And yet one of the more interesting features of the metropolises of the subcontinent is the opportunities they give women to inhabit roles that are less possible in rural areas. So it is a shame that in this long and impressive book we should see so little of the women of Bombay."


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