Summertime, performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Definitely one of the best performances of this standard I’ve ever heard. Fitzgerald and Armstrong bring out a beautiful melancholy in the song.
This is a finely written, compelling novel about four disparate characters in 1970s Bombay. Mistry unfolds quite a saga, drawing the characters together, and gradually making friends of them. This makes for a satisfying read, and there are plenty of obstacles to be overcome as they get there.
Some of the obstacles are within the characters, but a significant number are caused by the deprivation, poverty and exploitation that are unavoidable parts of life in ’70s Bombay. Not having any experience of the time or place, I can’t vouch for its accuracy, but the depiction in this novel makes it seem very real, and quite fascinating. (Yes, a horrid fascination in some ways, but a fascination nonetheless.)
I read this novel with my heart often in my mouth, worried that the author was not going to let his characters have a happy ending. This is a sign of good writing, and it is a good novel. However, I finished it feeling annoyed that Mistry did eventually dispose of his characters in what seemed a rather callous and capricious manner.