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Em and the Big Hoom: A Novel by Jerry Pinto
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Em and the Big Hoom: A Novel

by Jerry Pinto

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I have a problem with books that come with high expectations, I realized. This book over-sold itself to me. I struggled with the phrasing, which seemed to try so hard, that I had to pause to understand what was being said. The characters were unlike any that I had come across, definitely. Yet, I felt I was slightly IQ-deficient in not really being able to grasp this 'mad' world. ( )
  Soulmuser | May 30, 2017 |
A son looks back on his life in Bombay with his larger than life mother, Em, and supportive father, affectionately known as The Big Hoom. Through Em’s letters and unreliable stories, he attempts to piece together how she met his father and fell into a lifelong cycle of manic depression.

Constantly afraid he will inherit his mother’s madness, the unnamed narrator listens carefully as Em weaves in and out of stories and styles. Em’s tales vary from hilarious, raunchy dating tips to the confession that her children were her undoing, with bouts of unbearable depression and regular hospitalization in between. Each member of her family becomes a carefully placed crutch in her support system, while wondering how much longer they can all hang on.

Despite its topic, Pinto keeps Em and the Big Hoom from feeling weighted or heavy, as the novel is lifted by Em’s charm and her family’s overwhelming love. Even in the darkest moments, as her words directly wound those around her, there is an understanding of the disease among her family and thought is carefully chosen over reaction. Jerry Pinto takes a subject that is often swept aside and turns it into an engaging, reflective story.

More at rivercityreading.com ( )
  rivercityreading | Aug 10, 2015 |
It's reasonably well-written, and I can identify with it to some extent. So, maybe, I can't say I am "enjoying" the book. I can't wait for it to get over, to be honest. Also, I think, the prose in here is really a poem of some sort and it becomes to difficult to "read". Some chapters, the ones that describe the madness or deal with Em's episodes are surreal. You could read it as a story, but there really isn't much of that. It's what you make of it, and it's the sort of thing these literature types can talk about till the cows come home, innit? I was lookin' for something to read, not analyze. But that's just me. Maybe I didn't get it the first time over and it will come together for me when I re-read the book.

That said. Book is nicely produced, what with the fancy printing, the purple edges - like the Gideon's financed it or somethin', and the red inside-flaps, but you know what they say about a book and its cover. Nevertheless, nice to have all that. Not complaining. That much easier to pick it off the shelf, or avoid, for that matter.

I would have said "I really wanted to like this one", but I'll let someone else say it. I think I'll get that other book he wrote, about Helen. I think I might like that one.

And I paid for this one, so I'll be sure to finish it. I am halfway through. But I have a feeling, not much is gonna change from here on forward, writing or story-wise. I sure hope it keeps me interested. Not a very big read, and there's not much left, so that's a plus. Not Jerry's fault that I am not the literary type, is it now?
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Finished it. It's a decent enough read. I am sure I'll like it even more the next time around, when some of 'em sentences will come together and make better sense to me. Not that it's a difficult book, mind you. I am slow, is all. Also, I might add, I didn't find anything funny about anything in the book. Maybe mildly amused at best at a few bits here and there. But nothing "hilariously" so like at least one blurb promises. Again, just my opinion. You wanna laugh, I won't rain on your parade. ( )
  maximnoronha | Apr 18, 2015 |
This is a story of Imelda and Augustine or Em and the Big Hoom. They are a Roman Catholic middle class couple living in Bombay in the 70's. The story is narrated by the son of the couple. The Big Hoom and Em get married after a prolonged courtship and after the birth of their second child, Em shows signs of mental instability and is diagnosed to have bipolar or manic depressive syndrome. The narrator relates many anecdotes of their time together as a family, some sad, some happy and some outright hilarious.

This book gives us an insight of living with a mentally handicapped person and the various challenges that presents. A touching tale. 4/5 stars. ( )
  mausergem | Dec 12, 2014 |
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""Profoundly moving. I cannot remember when I last read something as touching as this." -Amitav Ghosh, author of The Glass Palace First published by a small press in India, Jerry Pinto's devastatingly original debut novel has already taken the literaryworld by storm. Suffused with compassion, humor, and hard-won wisdom, Em and the Big Hoom is a modern masterpiece, and its American publication is certain to be one of the major literary events of the season. Meet Imelda and Augustine, or-as our young narrator calls his unusual parents-Em and the Big Hoom. Most of the time, Em smokes endless beedis and sings her way through life. She is the sun around which everyone else orbits. But as enchanting and high-spirited as she can be, when Em's bipolar disorder seizes her she becomes monstrous, sometimes with calamitous consequences for herself and others. This accomplished debut is graceful and urgent, with a one-of-a-kind voice that will stay with readers long after the last page"--… (more)

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