A Village Dies

A Village Dies

Ivan Arthur







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(Paperback | ISBN 9789386050724 | 248 pages | October 2016)


Back in the 1940s, when Mumbai was still Bombay, the twin urban villages of Kevni-Amboli were home to a lively Catholic community—predominantly East Indian, but also Anglo-Indian, Goan and Mangalorean. In this hugely entertaining novel set in that vanished world, Ivan Arthur spins a delightful web of joint families, priests, sodality groups, gossips, friendly drunks, vagrants, simpletons, lovers and maiden aunts.

Among the many lovable and eccentric characters are Hanging Gardens, a simple gravedigger who, by a quirk of fate, nurtures a millionaire mechanic; Blaise Misquitta, a stickler for punctuality who has a grave dug in anticipation of his wife’s death; Tristao Dias Ribeiro, a Portuguese official who builds a massive church because his wife’s illness has forced him out of the conjugal bed; Kirit, the studious first-ranker who slits his wrist—and survives—because he cannot marry Miss Alice or kiss her on the lips; Peter, a mysterious water-carrier who sings operatic arias; and of course the endearing tomboy Kitty, in whose memories the past and present merge.


Click here to read an excerpt from the book.


‘Ivan Arthur has spun a hilarious, backward-moving tale around the burial of a village gravedigger. The suburb of Kevni-Amboli has been put on the literary map by a deft and engaging storyteller.’
—Saleem Peeradina, poet and author of the memoir The Ocean in My Backyard

‘Arthur’s knack for observing the absurdities of the people of his community — that of Amboli and the adjoining Kevni pada in particular — has inspired his new novel, A Village Dies (Speaking Tiger). The book, published this month, is a fictional retelling of the many stories and people, who came to give this place its character’.

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About the author

Ivan Arthur

Ivan Arthur is the author of five books, Pavement Prayers, Brands under Fire, Once More upon a Time, Jossie and The Fourteen Stations, and confesses to two hibernating blogs, ‘Excalibur’ and ‘Thurifer’. Arthur is a three-time winner of the WPP international Atticus Award for original writing. He is a former Area Creative Director of JWT, […]

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