The Cripple and His Talismans

by Anosh Irani
ISBN: 1551926512

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A Review of: The Cripple and His Talismans
by W. P. Kinsella

They say that young writers begin with fantasy because they have no life experience, gravitate to reality as they age, then revisit fantasy in maturity. Irani is a very young writer with a world of potential. He is another graduate of the prestigious UBC Writing Program. Set in Bombay, a young man who has lost an arm, sets out to find it, and has a long series of fabulous adventures, meeting wild, weird, and flamboyant characters along the way.
He definitely has a way with words and the pages are spattered with gold nuggets of language. Describing Bombay : "It is very strange. There is magic, poverty, thievery, music, pollution, dancing, murder, and lust." Describing mosquitoes around a light bulb: "They stick to it and exchange places with each other, a small dance to pass the time between transmissions of malaria." Describing some dancers: "When hips curve, it is a woman's way of telling you she wants to kill you." There is a smirking grossness about some of the scenes (let's see if we can make the reader vomit); a leper bites off his finger and hands it to the main character. As I've pointed out several times in these pages, it is almost impossible to care about a character who doesn't even have a name. I was not moved by anything this young man experienced because he was just a nameless lump, even though we eventually learn why he lost his arm and what direction his future will take. Irani shows a great talent for words and I feel that when he can create a sympathetic protagonist his potential will know no bounds.

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