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Scenes of a Reclusive Writer & Reader of Mumbai: Essays Hardcover – January 17, 2020
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"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!
The Amazon Book Review
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"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
"Scenes of a Reclusive Writer & Reader of Mumbai is a collection of Fiza Pathan's personal essays connecting important moments in her life with the books she was reading at the time. In the book, Fiza examines the people in her life with uniquely discerning descriptions and, in doing so, has granted her readers almost unfettered insight into her mind. She goes into detail about her difficult family dynamics and how they impacted her life. For example, with a difficult relationship with her father, the school library became Fiza's home, and the books--her surrogate parents.
Fiza writes frankly and with compelling clarity on how her experiences - both good and bad - have shaped her life. The truth and honesty in her writing is refreshing and unique. This book will resonate with anyone who is passionate about reading and literature, as well as those interested in understanding people."- Review by the Book Excellence Awards
'A fascinating insight into the life of a book lover. A RED RIBBON WINNER and highly recommended.' - The Wishing Shelf Book
- Publisher : Freedom with Pluralism (January 17, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 406 pages
- ISBN-10 : 8194055806
- ISBN-13 : 978-8194055808
- Item Weight : 1.65 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.06 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #9,754,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #8,953 in General Books & Reading
- #27,854 in Essays (Books)
- #90,003 in Writing Reference
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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I won't say Pathan has had a difficult life, though it couldn't have been easy, either. Her father rejected her based solely on the fact that he didn't want a daughter. But it is through this rejection that the author is shaped into the person she is today. See, while the father may have been absent, her mother, grandmother, and uncles were very much present. As were those who worked in the libraries of Mumbai. These are the rich cast of lives that aided Pathan during her childhood and beyond. One can fully appreciate her family simply by reading these essays. Her words come from her heart--which is what makes this collection so wonderful.
Pathan's love for the written word, for storytelling, began with Archie and Jughead, and carries on through Dracula, Bollywood, and the classics. Social issues rank high on her list of priorities, often showing up within her writing, whether it's essays, short stories, or novels.
As a writer, Fiza Pathan skillfully weaves her words into beautiful tapestries that tell tales in vivid colors and textures. Though her culture is different from my own, I am easily transported into her world, able to feel what she wants readers to feel. This is one trip I truly enjoyed taking.
Structured as a collection of essays, Pathan shares a series of works that have impacted significant areas of her life. Reviewing novels and graphic novel comics and stories from a variety of genres, Pathan dug into her life of rejection and eventual success, as well as her more significant familial and social relationships that influenced her as a person and as a writer along the way.
'Scenes of a Reclusive Writer & Reader of Mumbai' is not only an amazingly personal story for writers who identify with isolation and writing alone, but also for the necessary isolation happening in our current time. The stories contained here illuminate intelligently how prior knowledge builds into understanding and personal growth, but also how a good book can impact a writer forever.
I really enjoyed this book. The author is writing from a cultural perspective that is not my own, but her essays are so human and personal and honest that they easily transcend such barriers. It should be read with your TBR list handy, as you will likely add many titles to it. And I will end my review like the author ends most of her essays. If you are the kind of person who enjoys getting lost in the library stacks or at the back of a bookstore, or if you've ever thought it would be easier to have a relationship with books than with people, or if you have ever found yourself profoundly affected by what you have read, then this book is for you.
I, too, find that most often I love books more than the general population and find it easier to relate to bookish type people. (Even among the bookish I am still particular about the company I keep...)
I, too, love St. Francis of Assisi and 'Alice in Wonderland'. As well as the 'Goosebumps' series; are you kidding me? I grew up on that!
This book of essays proves once again that people from vastly different places and backgrounds can connect through their mutual love of words and literature.
Thank you, Fiza, for sharing your stories. And for helping add to my To Read list. We like so many of the same books, I am planning on reading the titles mentioned with which I am not yet familiar.
I will also be looking for more by this author. She is one to watch.
Top reviews from other countries
Definitely recommended for curling up by the fire, or taking on your summer holiday. This will definitely hold your interest.