When photographer Karan Seth comes to Bombay intent on immortalizing a city charged by celebrity and sensation, he is instantly drawn in by its allure and cruelty. Along the way, he discovers unlikely allies: Samar , an eccentric pianist; Zaira, the reclusive queen of Bollywood; and Rhea, a married woman who seduces Karan into a tender but twisted affair. But when an unexpected tragedy strikes, the four lives are irreparably torn apart. Flung into a Fitzgeraldian world of sex, crime and collusion, Karan learns that what the heart sees the mind’s eye may never behold. Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi's The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay is a razor sharp chronicle of four friends caught in modern India ’s tidal wave of uneven prosperity and political failure. It's also a profoundly moving meditation on love’s betrayal and the redemptive powers of friendship.
‘Oh God, Iqbal,’ Karan Seth said, looking warily at his boss, ‘you sound like you’re setting me up for trouble.’
‘Trouble is good for character building, Karan.’
‘Character building is too much work.’
‘I’m asking you to photograph a subject whom most other photographers on the team would give an arm and a leg to shoot,’ Iqbal said impatiently.
Karan grinned. ‘You picked me because I’m junior on your team and wouldn’t have the guts to say
“Siddharth Shanghvi's literary forebears are Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene, and E.M. Forester. He is also an original, a major storyteller who beguiles us into a world of illusion and bestows us with a sharp-eyed lens into the heart. The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay is a triumph.”—Amy Tan, award-winning author of The Joy Luck Club
"Lost Flamingoes of Bombay is at once a portrait of a teeming megacity and a study in loneliness. Beneath the razor-sharp asides and camp one-liners there lurks the inescapable melancholy of rootlessness, rendered in prose steeped in lyricism and longing. Siddharth Shanghvi belongs to that rarest of breeds: a writer who can truly capture the flaws in the human condition."—Tash Aw, award-winning author of The Harmony Silk Factory and Map of the Invisible World
"Why have flamingoes appeared in the Sewri mudflats, and do they mean love or sex, success or happiness, truth, beauty or death? In his second novel, Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi brings his formidable storytelling gifts to a roundelay of young Bombay creative types, each of them seeking to answer the question of why we live and love as we do."—Dave King, author of The Ha-Ha
“Flamingoes, at one level, is a meditation on love and sex. It's about the inexplicable and mysterious pull that cities and lovers exert on us. On another, it's about the sleaze, greed and lack of principles which characterize post-liberalisation India. Melancholic, gritty and relentlessly contemporary, this is a novel that simply demands to be read.”— Palash Krishna Mehrotra, Outlook (India)
“Simply brilliant.” —Economic Times (India)
“In a style that is uniquely his, Shanghvi builds note upon note, strikes poetic image upon photographic image till he binds you into a spell you have to struggle to snap out of days after you have finished the book. The ambiguity of Shanghvi’s prose contains a luscious incantatory power.”--Shobha Sengupta, Asian Age, (India)
“Shanghvi is a master storyteller…this book is so unputdownable.”—J. Jagannath, New Indian Express, (India)
“Brings Bombay alive in a startlingly new way…immensely readable…a labour of love.”—The Hindu, (India)
“Once in a while a book comes along which is refreshingly different in content and structure. It seeks neither to deliberately shock nor does it indulge in verbal pyrotechnics, yet the overreaching impact is such that it leaves one numb with a hundred different feelings. Emotions linger much after the book has been put aside and its characters develop tentacles that dig into the deepest recesses of the heart. The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay is one such book.”—Rajesh Singh, The Pioneer, (India)
“Shanghvi’s wit is exhaustingly dazzling, and more than a little provocative…an articulate, buccaneering, confident writer…his tale is both entertaining and thought-provoking.”—Sam Miller, India Today, (India)