This is one helluva book and comes with multiple trigger warnings – child sexual abuse, alcoholism, casteism, murder, body shaming, domestic violence, to name a few. But this is one dark piece that’s not to be missed. Only if you can gut it.

Gods and ends by Lindsay Pereira. Published by Penguin India.

In a nutshell, the book follows the life of characters staying in a dilapidated Obrigado Mansion. The motley crew assembled in these pages may leave you disconcerted.

The climax stuns you. I was absolutely speechless as I shut this book. The story kept going on in my mind for the longest time. And throughout the book the author sketches the life of Catholics based in Orlem, suburbs of Mumbai. I have grown up in a catholic vicinity, gone to catholic school and college, have had catholic friends and the way the author portrays their mannerisms and lifestyle, he doesn’t miss a beat! He captures all the nitty-gritties and presents it on this canvas. The portrayal is intimate, raw and quite realistic.

There are many characters in this book but you simply get familiar with the characters as you keep going deeper into this story. Every character comes with a deep dark aura of its own. In this book even the inanimate objects become characters. You hear the market tell a tale and even the abandoned room 106. Character soliloquies make a wonderful narrative device. These are heartbreaking and matter-of-fact. The characters are so twisted and so vain that some incidences are certainly going to leave you shaken.

Another laudable aspect of this book is the ambience. The author brings out the flimsy life in a Mumbai chawl quite exceptionally. “Over time, they grew accustomed to this lack of privacy, mistaking it for sense of freedom that enabled some of them to stumble home drunk, others to urinate on staircases, and still others to masturbate on rainy afternoons.”

The language too peels off the layers of glamour associated with the community. You read dark humor and reality. The author makes no bones about the mindset of the Catholics. And there are times when this book says a lot without giving away too much.

In my view this is the finest piece of literature I have read in the recent times. Go give it a read!

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