Baumgartner’s Bombay

Baumgartner’s Bombay
Anita Desai

[amazon_link id=”0618056807″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Baumgartner's Bombay[/amazon_link]

I finished this book last month and while I’m glad I read it, I can’t say I recommend it very highly.  The style of writing was colorful and poetic in the way it was written, but not what I particularly enjoy.  Because of the verbage, there were parts that took more thought to figure out what the author was trying to convey.  Not a light read for me at least!

Baumgartner is a Jew who as a child lived in Germany during the start of World War II.  His father owned a furniture store and was wealthy and doing well when Baumgartner was young.  As the Jew’s persecution becomes more intense they lose the shop and his father dies.

The new owner of the store provides Baumgartner with work so that he is able to support his mother, but even that becomes dangerous.  For Baumgartner’s safety he is sent to India as a consultant and to pick out wood and have it shipped back to Germany.

Business is going well for a while, but once the war is full steam ahead, the Germans are put in internment camps since India is a colony of Britain at the time.  Nazis and Jews are in the same camp which provides added tension.

The rest of the story is about how Baumgartner never really feels like India is home, but he also has no home to go back to.  He still isn’t welcome in Germany, his mother died during the war and there is no job for him there either.  He makes some friends and learns to survive in a culture that is drastically different that his homeland.

The story has surprising turns, unbelievable moments and a very sad and shocking end.  It was quite depressing and there are many other books I’d recommend reading before this one.

Sorry for a bummer of a review, but maybe it sounds interesting to you anyway!  If so… and you read it… please let me know what you think!

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