‘Manhattan Mango‘ by Madhuri Iyer revolves around three guys, namely Neel, Shankar and Shri. It’s the story of their life in and around New York, where they work and keep their life rolling. The three friends have stuck to each other through thick and thin over time at college in India, and being together again in a new country means a lot to each of them. And they want to live their life to make the best of every opportunity that comes their way.
Madhuri Iyer, the writer, has successfully portrayed the pictures of youth – typical, nonsensical, ambitious, lovelorn. Each of Neel, Shankar (a.k.a Shanks) and Shri’s character has been created and conceived with minute details and observations of the human mind and multidimensional behavioral aspects. Comes in characters like Shefali, Vivian, Pablo et al. Madhuri made it clear that she won’t portray unnecessary characters in the novel, but she also made it clear from the first page, that if she pulls in a character, she will do that to best of her abilities. There are additional inclusions of Shankar’s Mother and Tathima, Shri’s parents, Dr. Natasha, Ryan etc, and they give the perfect dramatic edge to the fictional excellence that ‘Manhattan Mango‘ is. While Shankar’s mother plays the perfect Indian mother, Shri’s parents were relatively more balanced with their approach to Shri’s life. And Dr. Natasha and Ryan play the perfect second fiddles to the confusing and unsatisfactory love lives of Neel and Shefali respectively. What happens next is nothing but pure drama, and Indian readers would be connecting to each and every aspect of it.
This book can easily be called as the ‘Dil Chahta Hai‘ of contemporary Indian writing – everything falls into place – the three guys, their attitude to work and life, and the women around them. That way, Madhuri Iyer has done a brilliant job.
Also, the book is not a breezy read – in the sense that it’s not too trivial with its language and writing. While you may want to pick this up for a train ride back home, make sure that you really concentrate to make it a better read. The writing is quite mature, and the publishers have also done a great job with editing. Recommended, highly.
What didn’t go too well with the reviewer are the comments of Sonam Kapoor, Rohit Roy and Sharman Joshi on the front and back covers of the book. We would rather want to have serious recommendations from people who deal with books and the likes than go with the book just because of the above names. I doubt how many serious readers would pick up the book from the shelves after reading them. Just an afterthought.
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