Baumgartner's Bombay

Baumgartner's Bombay

Anita Desai


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Hugo Baumgartner, a Jewish man born Berlin who travels to India to escape the Nazis, eventually winds up in a seedy apartment behind Bombay's Taj Hotel. He lives for his cats, going out each day with a plastic bag to search for food for them, struggling through the families, living their lives on the pavements where he lives, they themselves refugees from India's many famines and droughts. With so many neighbours with different names and cultures, he still does not know which language to use, but mumbles an all-purpose, inadequate ''Good morning, salaam.'' His problem is how do you say hello politely in a country where it's residents have so many languages and dialects, never mind the entire planet? Imagine someone so sensitive and selfless that he spends most of his day saying hello in all the languages there are.


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Hugo Baumgartner, a Jewish man born Berlin who travels to India to escape the Nazis, eventually winds up in a seedy apartment behind Bombay's Taj Hotel. He lives for his cats, going out each day with a plastic bag to search for food for them, struggling through the families, living their lives on the pavements where he lives, they themselves refugees from India's many famines and droughts. With so many neighbours with different names and cultures, he still does not know which language to use, but mumbles an all-purpose, inadequate ''Good morning, salaam.'' His problem is how do you say hello politely in a country where it's residents have so many languages and dialects, never mind the entire planet? Imagine someone so sensitive and selfless that he spends most of his day saying hello in all the languages there are.



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Anita Desai

Anita Desai was born in 1937. Her published works include adult novels, children's books and short stories. Sh e is a member of the Advisory Board for English of the National Academy of Letters...


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