Books: Seven New Voices

Here come six promising first-time novelists offering moral fables and tales of unrequited love. As for the seventh, don't say we didn't warn you

CHRONICLE OF A SOUL IN LIMBO The Death of Vishnu

Virtually all of this enchanting novel takes place in or around a Bombay apartment house where Vishnu, the tenants' drunken factotum, lies in his appointed sleeping place on a stair landing either dying or perhaps already dead. The two Hindu families on the first floor, the Asranis and the Pathaks, squabble over who will pay for the ambulance to cart poor, unsightly Vishnu away.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Jalals on the second floor are in turmoil because husband Ahmed, after years of proclaiming himself a religious freethinker, has been behaving like a...

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