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Picture of Bombay Novels

Bombay Novels

Some Insights in Spatial Criticism

Author(s): Mamta Mantri

Book Description

Mumbai? Bombay? How do we explain this city and ourselves within it? How do the city and the city dweller together allow for representations of urban life to arise in literature and the fine arts?

This book is an understanding of Mumbai, both as an architectural and literary space, through the lens of spatial criticism and the technique of flânerie. As an icon of experiences, Mumbai is felt through the simultaneous acts of walking, observing, remembering and articulating.

In analyzing four novels, namely Baumgartner’s Bombay, Ravan and Eddie, Shantaram and Baluta, the book claims that the characters and their authors offer an alternative vision of the city, as they also construct a transient place for themselves. This act of flânerie is an act of transgression as it turns the outside into the inside, changing public space into private space. As the characters serve to disrupt meaning, uncover hidden histories and expose power relations involved in the representation of place, they actualize many possibilities and meanings.

Using the novel as a literary device, the authors have told stories, not only of the protagonist-flâneur, but also of people around them; sometimes in detail, sometimes in passing. In contesting, claiming and owning the lives, the stories, and the city, the humane aspect is never forgotten.


ISBN-13: 978-1-5275-2390-6
ISBN-10: 1-5275-2390-X
Date of Publication: 01/03/2019
Pages / Size: 388 / A5
Price: £67.99


Dr Mamta Mantri explores the idea of ‘space’ through different media, in both theory and praxis. She writes about Mumbai and its place in art and culture, especially theater and cinema. Her articles have featured in prominent Indian journals, including Cinemaya, The Muse India, and The Criterion. She has also worked as a research lead for various historical and architectural engagements, including scenographic museums and heritage conservation projects in India. Following her belief that ‘space’ is also a personal and creative expression, she has created engaging living spaces using Indian craft and design sensibilities. She holds a PhD in English Literature and a Master’s in History from the University of Mumbai, India.