Sunday, February 21, 2010


I was at a friend's house in North Vancouver about five years ago. His uncle was visiting from Kansas. His uncle told me about how my great grandfather used to dig holes beneath chickoo trees to hide whiskey bottles during prohibition. I knew that someday I would write about this. All my novels have started with a single image. THE CRIPPLE AND HIS TALISMANS began with amputated limbs hanging from the ceiling of a dungeon, and for THE SONG OF KAHUNSHA I envisioned a ten-year-old boy trying to push his ribs back into his chest because he was ashamed of how thin he was. Image and character come together, from the unknown into the known, and that mystery is what enables a novelist to stay with a story for years.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Welcome Note

When people ask me why all my writing is set in Bombay, I say that I am unable to let it go. The city haunts me; it inspires me. The best way for me to describe Bombay is that it is a cross between a nightingale and a vulture: beauty and death. My previous novels The Cripple and His Talismans and The Song of Kahunsha reflect that. But when I am in Canada, my new home, the place that I ache for is about 65 miles from Bombay. It is called Dahanu and this is where my new novel is set.

Dahanu Road traces the journey of my people, the Zoroastrian Iranis, from Iran to Bombay, and then Dahanu, where they set up fruit orchards. They grew just one fruit, sweet and brown, called the chickoo. This novel is my love letter - dark, disturbing and ribald (as all love letters should be) to a place and people that mean a lot to me.

Stay tuned to this blog, and I hope that the music you hear in the coming days will haunt, inspire, and entertain.