2020 DBW Award Finalist – Best Book (Non-Fiction)
About the Book
“I am a recluse and I love books more than I love people.” – So begins Fiza Pathan, the self-proclaimed Reclusive Writer and Reader of Mumbai. In this charming collection of personal essays, Fiza recalls important phases of her life, along with the books she was reading at the time and where she read them. Revealed along the way are Fiza’s personal struggles, from the father who didn’t want a girl child to the years she believed she wanted to be a nun to the college friends who shamed her for gaining weight.
Her greatest victories are found here as well, among them the publication of her first story, the request to autograph her most popular book by an author she admired, the start of her own publishing company, and the acquisition of her very own office-cum-writing hut. Within her stories, you’ll meet Fiza’s beloved Mama, editorial partner (and uncle) Blaise, many other uncles and aunts, the librarians of her youth, and plenty of book salesman. All the people who have helped Fiza along her path to books, books, and more books. You’ll also take a taxi with Narayan, Fiza’s “Man Friday,” to visit her favorite haunts, from libraries to kiosks to boutiques to vendors who pile their offerings on the sides of the road, and you’ll learn the plots of her favorite comics, religious writings, medical thrillers, horror stories, activist writings, and so much more.
Fiza believes that every one of the books she has read has helped her become the person – and the writer – she was meant to become. Scenes of a Reclusive Writer & Reader of Mumbai is her life in books!
“A quirky, spellbinding collection that bibliophiles will relish.” Kirkus Reviews
“If the bookshelf of a bibliophile could come to life, perhaps it would tell a story like the one Fiza Pathan has woven throughout Scenes of a Reclusive Writer and Reader of Mumbai. These essays are brimming with nostalgia and visceral honesty, rife with intensely personal detail, but also stitched together with universal wisdom. The language feels organic, but also carefully chosen and polished, a delicate balancing act that makes the writing feel effortless. Whether the recollections are silly or tragic, forgettable or seminal, the world as Pathan sees it is refreshingly accessible and richly layered.” Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★½