In all honesty, I couldn't finish the book. I was frustrated with the characters. The book was exacting with everyone's thoughts toward another aired for the reader. Meanwhile the body rotted. Yes, it was a glimpse of India. It was also a glimpse into the nature of man. The author is talented but the book was depressing.
Very well written, and quite fascinating. Both and a exposure to an unfamiliar culture and a glimpse into the hallucinatory mind of a dying man all mixed up with some striking characters makes this an great read. I couldn't put it down!
This is a story of an East Indian man who lives on the steps of a building and dies there. I got an excellent peek into life in India. The man dies and is left there for a long time while the people who live in the building react and remember him. It is an excellent look into Indian culture and you leave the book having met some memorable characters.
"The Death of Vishnu" centers around an alcoholic man named Vishnu who lives on the landing of an apartment building and who, as he's slowly (please note, VERY slowly) dying, wonders if he is perhaps the god, Vishnu. How a man as pathetic as this one could wonder if he is really a god, let alone sustain a novel as it's protagonist is beyond my grasp.
Although it is an interesting, albeit not unusual, premise to tell a story from the point of view of a dying man as he reflects on his failed existence and his neighbors (whose lives are much more in-depth and intriguing), this novel falls short of what it was capable of. I believe it was perhaps a combination of the unstimulating writing and the irritating and unlovable protagonist that doomed this novel long before Vishnu finally kicked the bucket.
In writing this novel, the author, Suri, forgot a fundamental element in any piece of fiction - the main character must be lovable or endearing, or at least learn from his mistakes. In the flashbacks, Vishnu is shown as obsessed with a prostitute who won't give him the time of day and who is no more interesting than he is. Their love scenes, of which there are several, are nothing more than disturbing. When he's not reflecting on the prostitute that spurned his affections, he's lusting after the beautiful teenage girl who lives in the building and reflecting on what he would do with her if he wasn't a cripple (uh, pedophile anyone?).
I finished this novel sorry that I had ever bought it to begin with, but glad I only paid $2 for it in the discount section of a bookstore.
Painfully but hilariously honest. I couldn't put the book down. Even when the characters were frustratingly flawed, there was something perfect about them - they are so real, and their feelings are so true. I know people like this! It helps to know some basics about Indian culture, but even without that knowledge the writing is amazingly vivid. This book is a beautiful read.
I thoroughly enjoyed this poetically written novel that explores relationships between neighbors of differing religions in an apartment building in Bombay. Manil Suri does a beautiful job of weaving in the insights of a dying man with those living around him. Very original!
A peek at life (and death) in Bombay. The lives of several people living in an apt. complex unfold as one of them lays dying on a stairway. A man who has lost his wife,teenage lovers, couples, and merchants. Very good
This is a wonderful book. It's unfortunate the previous reviewer says this is a paperback because that's incorrect, this IS a hardcover book (I have two copies with ISBN 0393050424, and the cover looks exactly like the picture).
Vishnu, the odd-job man in a Bombay apartment block, llies dying on the staircase landing. Around him the lives of the apartment dwellers unfold: the warring housewives on the first floor, lovesick teenagers on the second, and the widower, alone and quietly grieving on the top floor of the building. In a fevered state Vishnu looks back on his love affair with the seductive Padmini and wondners if he might actually be the god Vishnu, guardian of the entire universe.