The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri

The Death of Vishnu

Manil Suri

As Vishnu lies dying on the stairs of his Bombay apartment block, the everyday lives and bickering of the colourful characters who live there continue around him. Even though this book is about death, I found a lot of humour in the interaction of these sometimes annoying, sometimes endearing characters. I felt that a little knowledge of Hinduism might have helped me to appreciate this book even more.

Extract

On the fifth step he pauses. The stairs are curving round. The lower half of his figure has disappeared behind the stone. If he climbs another step, only the head will remain. Vishnu looks at the torso outlined under the sheet. It lies there unmoving, mapping out the space he occupies in the world ....
... Is it his perception, or is the stone under his feet beginning to fade? Are his limbs getting weightless, or was he always this light? Are his muscles losing their flex, are his bones turning to air, is his head threatening to float away?

Parallels
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  • A Son of the Circus by John Irving
  • Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai