Men of the World

Two new nov­els by award-win­ning author Jerry Pinto and US-based Rahul Mehta in­ves­ti­gate what it means to be gay and In­dian at home and in Amer­ica

India Today - - LEISURE - Mur­der in Mahim by Jerry Pinto —Arul Mani

A brief 232 pages, it is the kind of book where you read five sen­tences, stop, re-read them be­cause you think you’ve missed some­thing, and then mic-test one of the lines. Then this mic-test­ing non­sense just takes over your life. Pinto has a su­perb ear for vari­a­tion, and so­cial anx­i­ety, and the ways in which peo­ple shuf­fle be­tween what they are think­ing and what they want to say.

Once upon a time, Dom Mo­raes com­plained that the char­ac­ters in In­dian crime nov­els spoke too much like copy­writ­ers in New York. Pinto’s so­lu­tion to this prob­lem is a fairly in­ge­nious de­vice. His Peter Fer­nan­des speaks English, reads po­etry, has for­got­ten large tracts of his Konkani even while dream­ing of re­turn­ing to Moira. He can hold his own with the city’s pa­tois, and like a good city jour­nal­ist, is con­stantly trans­lat­ing and mak­ing notes in his head. The reader tends to fall in with him, and trudge the city with him and stop when he does, and shake a mys­ti­fied head at more or less the same mo­ments. At the be­gin­ning of Jerry Pinto’s tightly writ­ten crime novel,

Mur­der in Mahim, a ‘phys­i­cal trainer’ is found dead, with a gash in his side and mi­nus a kid­ney, in a pub­lic toi­let in Matunga—a lo­cale for clan­des­tine gay sex.

As more bod­ies turn up, a re­tired jour­nal­ist named Peter Fer­nan­des teams up with In­spec­tor Jende (shades of the leg­endary Mad­hukar Zende here) to track down the killer. Nat­u­rally, it’s the jour­nal­ist who must walk down the mean galis where Jende can­not or will not go. In the midst of all this pok­ing around in the gayer cor­ners of the city, Peter must also fig­ure out what to make of a news­pa­per cap­tion that de­scribes his peren­ni­ally ab­sent son as ‘gay ac­tivist Su­nil Fer­nan­des’.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.