Book. Bombay. Romance. These are the words that drew me to the book, Paper Moon by debutant author Rehana Munir. And those are the very words (I would say the book had less of romance unless we count love for books) that kept me hooked till the end.
The plot mainly revolves around Fiza and her setting up a bookstore after receiving a surprising inheritance from her estranged, deceased father. While it's an exciting thought for the bibliophile Fiza, it’s also a daunting task given that she’s got no experience in running a bookstore or even working in one. She receives help from her father’s lawyer in finding a place for the bookstore and getting it redecorated from her friend.
But it’s mainly her doing everything solo. I loved the part where she goes to a book distributor to stock up on books. It actually transported me to those mile-long isles full of books. The best part of the book was that almost every character was relatable and almost everything seemed plausible. It’s probably because the author has an experience of running a book store, may be that's why she succeeds in making everything seem real. Including Fiza's break-up, dealing with feelings for a new man and coming to terms with the existence of a step brother after she meets her father's lover in her bookstore.
While certain things do seem a little rushed--the Fiza that we meet in the beginning of book would never just hop on a flight to meet her step brother in London--after giving some more thought it made me realise that for Fiza it was about seizing the opportunity.
Be it taking the plunge in the literary world or going abroad, I would definitely want to take a few cues from Fiza's character and do something spontaneous, move out of my comfort zone and live life a little differently. At the end of the book I had an overwhelming desire for setting up a bookstore of my own. It's truly a must read for every book lover, especially the ones living in Mumbai.
- Book: Paper Moon
- Author: Rehana Munir
- Publisher: HarperCollins
- Pages: 297; Price: Rs 299