Haunting Bombay

Haunting Bombay

Haunting Bombay

Haunting Bombay

By Shilpa Agarwal

Soho Press, Inc.

ISBN: 978-1-56947-558-4

3 stars

Pinky Mittal is being raised by her grandmother after her mother’s death when she was just a baby. Her life in the large bungalow in one of Bombay’s most desirable neighborhoods in anything but happy. Her grandmother treats her kindly and the two have a loving relationship but her extended family is another matter. Her uncle is an alcoholic, her aunt makes her feel unwanted at every opportunity, the servants don’t treat her badly but don’t seem to care much for her, and her three cousins, all boys, are, well, boys.

One night, after humiliating herself in front of one of her cousins, Nimish who she secretly loves, she does something that throws the whole house into chaos. Pinky unlocks a bathroom door that is bolted each night unknowingly releasing a ghost that has remained dormant and hidden for years. When the monsoon season arrives, the ghost uses the water to escape and torments the family fully intending to take revenge for the years of being ignored and shut away.

I had trouble getting into this book. I wanted to like the characters but couldn’t become attached. The family is dysfunctional but not any worse than one would expect with their history. It’s easy to see why Pinky’s aunt would be hostile towards her and why her uncle would be drowning himself in alcohol. I thought the ghost idea was a nice way to showcase the family’s problems, but, honestly, I didn’t really care what happened to any of them.

However, I’m glad I finished it. The story has a strange redeeming quality to it and after the last page, I did feel something for these people and the sad state of their lives. In the end, I was happy to see Pinky find herself and the courage to stand up to her aunt. It was also nice to see the family start to pull itself back together. I do wish I would have experienced more of the redeeming affect while I was reading; it would have made it much more enjoyable. In the end, it was an okay read but not a book I will go back to.

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