Book Review: The Homing Pigeons

Part of South Asian Challenge 2013Debut Indian Writers Challenge 2013 and Reading Challenge 2013: First Reads

The Homing Pigeons Cover ok

Time does funny things to us. And so do circumstances. It is true for life but fiction just emphasizes it better. Like The Homing Pigeons does. Sid Bahri‘s debut novel is a much needed fresh breath in the  stagnating romance sagas that present day Indian literature sees. The book has its pros and cons but overall it delivers. Most importantly – it is not campus or corporate love. And phew! for that. I have had my own share of reluctance in picking up the book because I am really wary of love themed books by Indian authors and also of books published by new Indian publishing houses (editing issues there). I have thrashed them here before and I did not wish another ordeal. So inspite of a fellow blogger and the publisher insisting, I was determined not to read another love story but like always could not say no to the author and here we are. I even nearly threatened him with a thrashing review if I did not like the book. Sid, sorry there. I know that was harsh on a debut author but guess he trusted his work immensely. He took the risk, backed his work and sent me the book. Must say it paid off. You earned your writing a fan, Mr. Bahri.

The Homing Pigeons is the zig-zaging story of a broke, low on self esteem and respect, laid off for a year – Aditya in Chandigarh and a freshly widowed, rich, young but lonely Radhika in Lucknow.

Aditya is a few drinks down in a bar when a hot 40-something Delhi based corporate hot shot offers to buy him a drink. The drink turns to drinks and he ends up in her hotel room. Situation turns such that morality be damned, he ends up having sex with her for money. He could now officially update his profile details as Ex-Banker turned Gigolo. One thing leads to the another and he heads over to Delhi for now he has clients waiting. The move isn’t difficult, for all his unloving wife needs to know is he has finally landed a job. And Delhi isn’t new to him.

Delhi was where once life was.

Radhika on the other hand has completed all her responsibilities as a step mother to a step daughter who she detests and the feeling is heartily reciprocated. She will have to leave her husband’s home and go her way with all the money that he has left her in his will. Infact in many years for the first time she has the freedom to choose her destination. She chooses Delhi – the city that gave her everything and also took it all away.

Delhi was where once love was.

One word – Sid impresses in his debut. The narration style that the book follows is such that the pages keep turning. I nearly had an all nighter with this one! The chapters are so short, that the lure of one more chapter just keeps going. When an incident is narrated by Aditya you know Radhika’s version of the same incident will appear too and till both the versions have not been read the story seeker in the reader is not satiated and like I said the pages keep turning. The author also touches some sensitive social veins as part of the story which again hints at competent story telling because complexities like love, career, divorce, religious riots have all been dealt with as an integral part of the story and dealt well I must say.

The chink in the armour lies in the book’s  starting and the climax which unfortunately are the real essentials for a book. Firstly the start is pretty bollywood-ish – recession hit banker becomes a male escort (think Desi Boyz starring & ). Fortunately that is where the similarities between the book and the film end but it does put you off at the start. Secondly the climax – it was like smoothly drifting down a stream and suddenly a precipice makes an appearance and the story jumps off it. The story lagged somewhat towards the end and then ended too abruptly. That just took out the magic that the author had built in the narration.

Cons aside it makes for a good debut relatively. Easy, swift at the same time philosophically deep in parts. Kudos to the author and also a special mention to , the editor, the book flows and flows well. Also take a bow Anubhav Som of for the cover design. One of the most pleasing book covers seen off late.

Recommended Read. Pick it up on a relaxed weekend, won’t take much of your time or energy.

Happy Reading.

Thank you for the copy Sid Bahri and Arup Bose.

Watch the Words:

Title: The Homing Pigeons
Author: Sid Bahri
ISBN: 978-93-80349-91-6
Pages: 318
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.75 of 5
Reviewed for: Author

Best Price iRecommend: Buy The Homing Pigeons from

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