I am a major Manto fan, so this will be a biased review. Manto is easily one of the best writers of our country has ever seen. What sets him apart is the way he writes. He uses minimum words to make the maximum impact. I had read Khol Do one of his short stories way back in college while studying partition literature and the story has stayed with me ever since. It has been an enriching experience reading Manto. His themes were a clear reflection of the prevalent society and brings to the fore some of the issues that were often ignored, in the starkest of ways.
Bombay Stories is set in 1930s and 1940s Bombay when it was cosmopolitan capital of the Subcontinent. The book is a collection of Manto’s short stories from the time he spent in Bombay. Manto first came to Bombay in 1930s which was a flourishing nerve centre of the country under the British Raj. Bombay Stories features regular people, characters who make up our society prostitutes, pimps, writers, intellectuals, aspiring film actors, thugs and crooks.
His stories are hard hitting and move you beyond words. They are about a city which has evolved manifold yet the situations and people are very relatable even today. The situations find significance even now, 60-70 years after they happened. In Bombay Stories, Manto emphasized the importance of being human and the complex human relationships that make our society. A collection of fourteen stories, each leaves you in awe. The stories that i liked the most is ‘Mammad Bhai’ and ‘Rude’. I am overwhelmed each time I read Manto and I must say that the Introduction of the Bombay Stories really had set the mood of the book. Originaly Manto wrote in Urdu which has been impeccably translated by Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad; successfully retaining the original flavor of Manto’s writing. This has been a brilliant read.
Pick this book up. It is a collectors item.
My rating is a very biased 5/5 purely because it was an exceptional read; a first on my blog.
This review is for Random House India; however the opinions expressed here are my own.