Manil Suri: The City of Devi
“Suri’s take on apocalypse is broadly satirical….But at its root this is a stirringly poignant love story, drawn with deep compassion.” — The New Yorker
“Big, pyrotechnic…ambitious…ingenious” — The Wall Street Journal
“The City of Devi combines, in a magician's feat, the thrill of Bollywood with the pull of a thriller. Set in a city at the brink of the end, this is a fiercely imagined story of three souls haunted by a love that will change their most elemental ideas of identity. Manil Suri's bravest and most passionate book.” — Kiran Desai
A wickedly comedic and fearlessly provocative portrayal of individuals balancing on the sharp edge of fate, The City of Devi brilliantly upends assumptions of politics, religion, and sex, and offers a terrifying yet exuberant glimpse of the end of the world.
Mumbai has emptied under the threat of imminent nuclear annihilation; gangs of marauding Hindu and Muslim thugs rove the desolate streets; yet Sarita can think of only one thing: buying the last pomegranate that remains in perhaps the entire city. She is convinced that the fruit holds the key to reuniting her with her physicist husband, Karun, who has been mysteriously missing for more than a fortnight. Searching for his own lover in the midst of this turmoil is Jaz—cocky, handsome, and glib. “The Jazter,” as he calls himself, is Muslim, but his true religion has steadfastly been sex with men. Dodging danger at every step, both he and Sarita are inexorably drawn to Devi ma, the patron goddess who has reputedly appeared in person to save her city. What they find will alter their lives more fundamentally than any apocalypse to come.
Light Reception: 6:30 pm
Program: 7:00 pm
About the Author
Born in Bombay, Manil Suri is a professor of mathematics and affiliate professor of Asian Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The City of Devi is the final novel in a trilogy that includes The Death of Vishnu and The Age of Shiva. His fiction has won several awards and honors and has been translated into twenty-seven languages. A citizen of both the United States and India, in 2000 Suri was named by Time Magazine as a “Person to Watch.” In addition to his writing, Suri is involved in several mathematics outreach projects. His research is in the area of finite element methods for partial differential equations.