Hugo Baumgartner is a firangi wherever he goes―too dark for Hitler’s Germany, too fair for India. Escaping the Nazi regime but losing his parents to it, the wandering Jew builds a life in India only to be interrupted by war, and then partition―and finally finds a home in multitudinous Bombay.
We meet him as a kindly, rather hapless old man who spends his days making the rounds of local teashops to scavenge for his many cats. Then, one day at the Café du Paris, one of his regular haunts, he encounters a surly young German of the new order―a drug-crazed hippie who will change his life forever.
Set in Berlin, Venice, Calcutta―and of course Bombay―Baumgartner’s Bombay is the story of the twentieth century and a memorable portrait of Baumgartner, survivor, victim, everyman.
Baumgartner’s Bombay by Anita Desai
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