Nominated | Book Awards 2019 | English Fiction
A novel about disparate cultural identities subsumed by the city of Mumbai
Author: Chandrahas Choudhury
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Award Category: English Fiction
About the Book:
Farhad Billimoria is so looking forward to being a departed soul. On the cusp of his forty-second birthday, this suave, divorced Parsi psychotherapist makes a farewell parade across Bombay in the company of Zelda, his beloved vintage Maruti 800. As he counts down the days for his relocation to San Francisco, where jazz and soul, craft beer and bantering blondes all thrive, Farhad's mind crackles with bittersweet memories, giddy dreams, dreadful puns even a new form of therapy modelled on clouds. But is love about to bloom for Farhad in Bombay just as he has given up on the city? And if it does, will he bring to it the man that he is or the one he wants to become?
Elsewhere in Bombay, Rabi, a spirited youth from the remote Cloud people of Odisha a sky-watching tribe who venerate Cloud maker, the mercurial God who plays puff-puff in the skies all day long suddenly finds himself cooped up as caretaker to two ailing and cranky old Odia Brahmins, Eeja and Ooi. Their son Bhagaban, a film-maker and gadfly, has taken it upon himself to lead Rabi and the Cloud people away from the stranglehold of a mining company towards democratic resistance a project for which Eeja and Ooi have little empathy. As Bhagaban directs the forward march of time and Eeja and Ooi reassert a golden Indian past, will Rabi have to relinquish the delicate self bequeathed to him by the Cloud people? Or will the two hidebound old people begin to be drawn up into the clouds instead?
By one of India’s most celebrated young writers Chandrahas Choudhury, Clouds is a story about earth and sky, love and friendship, language and power. At its simplest, it illuminates the inner lives of half-a-dozen characters forging their own paths in one great city. Yet peel away the surface layers and what emerges is a vast, subtle, outstanding portrait of Indian democracy at seventy.
About the Author:
Chandrahas Choudhury was born in 1980 in Hyderabad and grew up in Bombay. He studied in Delhi and Cambridge and now lives in Delhi. Choudhury is a literary critic for the Observer, the New York Times -Books Review and the Sunday Telegraph and writes his own literary blog The Middle Age. His debut novel Arzee the Dwarf (The Little King of Bombay) was shortlisted for the Commonwealth First Book Prize.