The City of Devi
A dazzling, multilayered novel that not only encompasses a searing love story but, with its epic reach, encapsulates the fate of the entire world.
Mumbai has emptied under the threat of imminent nuclear annihilation; gangs of marauding Hindu and Muslim thugs rove the desolate streets; yet Sarita can think of only one thing: buying the last pomegranate that remains in perhaps the entire city. She is convinced that the fruit holds the key to reuniting her with her physicist husband, Karun, who has been mysteriously missing for more than a fortnight.
Searching for his own lover in the midst of this turmoil is Jaz—cocky, handsome, and glib. “The Jazter,” as he calls himself, is Muslim, but his true religion has steadfastly been sex with men. Dodging danger at every step, both he and Sarita are inexorably drawn to Devi ma, the patron goddess who has reputedly appeared in person to save her city. What they find will alter their lives more fundamentally than any apocalypse to come.
A wickedly comedic and fearlessly provocative portrayal of individuals balancing on the sharp edge of fate, The City of Devi brilliantly upends assumptions of politics, religion, and sex, and offers a terrifying yet exuberant glimpse of the end of the world.
Praise for THE CITY OF DEVI
Listed as #12 on the list of 50 Essential Books on Gay Fiction by Flavorwire.
“Exuberant and sexy….when the world comes to an end, I will spend my last days in Mumbai clutching a copy of Manil Suri’s dazzling epic.”—GARY SHTEYNGART
“Suri’s take on apocalypse is broadly satirical….But at its root this is a stirringly poignant love story, drawn with deep compassion.”—THE NEW YORKER
“Big, pyrotechnic…ambitious…ingenious”—WALL STREET JOURNAL
“With comedic flashes and a plot that pulses forward, Suri’s tale solidifies the reputation that he earned as a master storyteller with The Death of Vishnu and The Age of Shiva.”—O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE
“A pleasure to read….fascinating for its precision and detail.”—THE DAILY BEAST
“Wild, kaleidoscopic . . . dazzling.”—CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER
“Suri’s prose is reason enough to pick up the book, but what ultimately makes the reader turn the pages is the intertwined destinies of the three characters.”—SEATTLE TIMES
“Stanley Kubrick’s celebrated 1964 satire on the atomic bomb, Dr Strangelove, famously ends with the eponymous character stepping out of a wheelchair, thrilled that he can suddenly walk. As he does so, mushroom clouds erupt to the romantic strains of “We’ll Meet Again”. The Mumbai depicted in Manil Suri’s third novel swells under the promise of nuclear attack with the same mixture of bombast, absurdity and yearning. To this, add the melodrama of Bollywood, the vicious theatricality of organised religion, the carnality of a love that dare not speak its name, and you have a devilish, enjoyable carousel of a novel…Consuming, passionate, and ultimately poignant.”—THE GUARDIAN
“Reading The City of Devi…is like being an atom bombarded by the forces of a nuclear particle accelerator.”—THE NEW ZEALAND LISTENER