Bombay Time: A Novel (Paperback)
Bestselling author Thrity Umrigar's deeply felt first novel set in modern India, Bombay Time.
At the wedding of a young man from a middle-class apartment building in Bombay, the men and women of this unique community gather together and look back on their youthful, idealistic selves and consider the changes the years have wrought. The lives of the Parsi men and women who grew up together in Wadi Baug are revealed in all their complicated humanity: Adi Patel's disintegration into alcoholism; Dosamai's gossiping tongue; and Soli Contractor's betrayal and heartbreak. And observing it all is Rusi Bilimoria, a disillusioned businessman who struggles to make sense of his life and hold together a fraying community.
Thrity Umrigar is the best-selling author of the novels Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, The Weight of Heaven, The World We Found and The Story Hour. She is also the author of the memoir, First Darling of the Morning. Her books have been translated into several languages and published in over fifteen countries. She is the Armington Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
The Space Between Us was a finalist for the PEN/Beyond Margins award, while her memoir was a finalist for the Society of Midland Authors award. If Today Be Sweet was a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection, while her other books have been Community Reads selections. Thrity is the winner of the Cleveland Arts Prize, a Lambda Literary award and the Seth Rosenberg prize.
Thrity was born in Bombay, India and came to the U.S. when she was 21. As a Parsi child attending a Catholic school in a predominantly Hindu country, she had the kind of schizophrenic and cosmopolitan childhood that has served her well in her life as a writer. Accused by teachers and parents alike of being a daydreaming, head-in-the-clouds child, she grew up lost in the fictional worlds created by Steinbeck, Hemingway, Woolf and Faulkner. She would emerge long enough from these books to create her own fictional and poetic worlds. Encouraged by her practical-minded parents to get an undergraduate degree in business, Thrity survived business school by creating a drama club and writing, directing and acting in plays. Her first short stories, essays and poems were published in national magazines and newspapers in India at age fifteen.
After earning a M.A. in journalism in the U.S., Thrity worked for several years as an award-winning reporter, columnist and magazine writer. She also earned a Ph.D. in English. In 1999, Thrity won a one-year Nieman Fellowship to Harvard University, which is given to mid-career journalists.
“[Umrigar's] heartfelt book . . . displays an impressive talent for conceiving multidimensional, sympathetic characters with lifelike emotional quandaries and psychological stumbling blocks.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Umrigar's vivid and easy prose carries the reader into the heart of these families, limning their neighborhoods, their desires, their hopes, and failures.” —Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“Bombay throbs with the life and death, crowded, hot, dirty, and volatile . . . [This novel] is a warmhearted look at human nature, with all its strengths and flaws exposed.” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Thrity Umrigar has an acute ear for dialogue, and a gift for unmasking the complexities of personal relationships. Wise and nuanced, the narrative grips the reader's attention.” —Bapsi Sidhwa, author of Cracking India
“With the unflinching gaze of a Diane Arbus protégé, Umrigar pulls each of [her characters] into and out of focus to reveal the definitive--at times profoundly intimate--events of their respective lives . . . [A] dazzling debut.” —The Hartford Courant
“Bombay Time's wonderful cast of characters and their tragically funny stories stay with you long after you finish reading this bittersweet novel. Thrity Umrigar's heart is as big as her homeland, and this is a beautiful novel.” —Brad Watson, author of Last Days of the Dog-Men