BOMBAY TALKIE by Ameena Meer

BOMBAY TALKIE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 From first novelist Meer, an uneven whirl with India's brat pack as they try to find themselves--sexually and culturally--in the bright lights of big cities like Bombay, Paris, and New York. Young American-born Sabah's search in India for identity, heritage, and just maybe a husband provides Meer with a loose framework for highlighting the cultural dissonance experienced by today's ``Indibrats.'' Like their European counterparts, they are poor little rich kids seeking sensation and sexual adventure in discos, gay bars, and updated versions of traditional stag evenings with ``nautch'' dancers--in which the nautch girls are boys. Sabah, the daughter of affluent immigrants, has grown up more American than Indian, though her parents have maintained close ties with fellow immigrants and with their family back home. Her best friend, Rani, returned to India when her mother divorced her American father. As Sabah, now a college graduate, leaves America and sometime lover Rob, her Uncle Jimmy, a famous Indian film star and singer, sets off from Bombay to join son Adam, who is supposed to be working in a Paris bank. Once in India, Sabah meets up again with Rani, a successful model but unhappy wife, only to lose her in a bizarre accident. She also socializes with jaded Indibrats and stays with a beloved grandma who serves good food and equally good advice. Uncle Jimmy and his son are not so fortunate: Sexually confused Adam flees his father and follows lover Marc to New York; Uncle Jimmy suffers a heart attack. The cousins' parallel journeys finally intersect--too neatly--in New York as Sabah, who has come home even more confused about herself, accidentally meets Adam, seriously injured while carousing with friends. A former journalist, Meer has an eye for detail and setting, but her characters and their lives are thin constructs--the habituÇs of glossy mags rather than solid novels.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-85242-325-0
Page count: 280pp
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1994