Manhattan Mango


Q. What happens when three ambitious, high-achieving, 20-something Mumbaikars become New Yorkers?
A. Madness.

Zipping through life’s ups and downs like a high-speed elevator during rush hour, buddies Shri, Shanks, and Neel hold on to each other, and their sanity, with a bro-hood bonding that chipkos them together, fevicol se.

Neel’s the driven hedge fund guy, with a weakness for scotch and women. Tam Brahm Shanks, a techie, falls for the wrong girl. Good Son Shri, a banker, holds a secret he means to take to his grave. Their intertwined lives buzz with high-voltage drama — explosive secrets, super-charged romances, and a-fuse-a-minute meltdowns.

There’s alcohol-fueled passion, Devdas style. Inter-racial hook-ups. Even a fake affair, because money can’t buy the real thing. When their skyscraper-sized dreams are tested, this desified saga of friends in Manhattan is like the city’s rapid transit express subway line. You won’t want any stops in between.

~ Synopsis from Goodreads

What do you say about a book that caused you to sink into your Sunday and lose the world? In my Mailbox post, I mentioned that this book seemed like a Friends sitcom, and it is, and it’s a good thing, because the book was as entertaining as the real thing.

This was a fast-paced, quick read for me. I read it start to finish in a day but there’s nothing terribly unique or startling about this story of three friends living a carefree life in Manhattan.

Neel, Shri, and Shanks are enjoying happy bachelor days in Manhattan when they meet Shefali who brings a certain level of complication into the group. And then comes Vivian, and Laila, and Natasha and things get really complicated.

These complications are of course very entertaining. Who loves who and who gets paired off with who? What dirty secrets are each one hiding? And is a happy ending in sight for all of them?

Those are the questions that this book deals with.

My Review

I loved this book far more than I expected to. I went into this book knowing it is a masala read, but it is very well-written masala. All the three friends – Neel, Shri, and Shanks are well-defined, and believable characters and likable in spite of their flaws.

For example, Neel who is written as a playboy character should be quite unappealing. However, the changes he is forced to go through during the book had me rooting for a happy ending for him.

I don’t know if you have seen this Bollywood movie – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (You Don’t Live Twice), but this book reminded me strongly of that movie. The story’s not the same but the setting of three friends in a foreign land finding themselves is quite familiar to me.

So, yeah, this is a great combination of the Friends sitcom and a Bollywood movie, I enjoyed this book very and I expect it will be quite popular with a whole lot of readers.

If there is one little nit-pick, it’s that Manhattan doesn’t really have a role to play in this book. This story could just as easily have been set in any large city in the world and it would have worked just as well. So don’t go into this book expecting some local color. There’s very little of that.

Huge thanks to Fingerprint Publishing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

You can also purchase an ebook from Amazon

  • manjulika pramod

    I am reading it and am quite enjoying it. Dint have time to finish it in one day…
    Hey I like the new look of your blog.

  • I love how eclectic your blog is. I might actually buy this – we all need a masala read once in a while. Sounds like fun!

    • Nishita

      Thanks @priyatabularasa:disqus I try to keep my blog eclectic, so I am happy about your compliment :). Yeah, this is a good masala read, not too taxing, but at the same time not terribly low brow either.

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  • Learned a new thing today! Like Col I didn’t know what a masala read is — love that piece of slang. Also, I get it! Because masala is a mix of spices (right?).

    • Nishita

      @readingtheend:disqus yup, you got it 🙂 , that’s where the word comes from.

  • dreamzandclouds

    even I have a copy of the book sent by the publishers. My expectations are same as you had and I hope I like it just as you did…..will find that out soon 🙂

    • Nishita

      @dreamzandclouds: Looking forward to your review 🙂

  • Monique

    Thanks so much for asking, Col. That’s what I wanted to know! And thanks for answering, Nish! This book sounds like fun.

  • Col

    I enjoyed the review and have got to ask in my ignorance – what’s a masala read?!

    • Nishita

      @disqus_pOZOL1DHAu:disqus @disqus_fT2TINuo2O:disqus oh, that’s some Indian slang for a book that has a mix of a lot of things – romance, comedy, drama. They are entertaining but nothing revolutionary.

  • bermudaonion(Kathy)

    This sounds like a lot of fun!

    • Nishita

      @bermudaonion_kathy:disqus yes, it is. Light-hearted but still a great read

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