The Cripple and the Talisman By Anosh Irani (Review Summary)


The Cripple and his Talismans By Anosh Irani

Summary and Review of the Novel.

The story begins with the man who doesn’t know where his land had gone. He wonders about it, and he searches for it throughout the story.

The narrator searches for his lost arm. First he goes to the incharge( he believes he will help him in finding his missing arm.)

The in charge is not to be found anywhere. There are many clues like follow the arm and so forth. Finally he learns the incharge name. He comes to know the name is Baba Rakhu. On his journey he first meets a girl who sells rainbows. She gives him the first clue by saying a thousand oil lamps. And before the lamps go out he should complete the journey.

He also gets some chickens that do black magic. He kills the chicken and closes the evil eye that was cast upon him. Then he meets some B grade movie seller tells him to plant the Finger and water it. Now and then there is a flashback inserted -particularly the schools days of the cripple and his classmate Viren. Viren loves Shakespeare which the narrators, so he taunts him. Then one day he bangs Viren’s head in the desk, and he thinks Viren lost his eyes. This is a tragedy, and then he invites him to the tea shop and in a fit of rage shoves Viren’s fingers with the cutter.

The cripple also considers suicide, and he calls someone called the Madam, and then Mr.P who is a maker of coffins. The cripple asks for a coffin for his finger. He still tries to find Baba Rakhu . Then one day he is taken to his ancient self. In this past the cripple was a cook in the courts of Akbar and here he has a sworn enemy called Horasi.

Then he also has an affair with a prostitute but he thinks he is in love but once enraged that she slept with someone else he beats her. Then he finally finds Baba Raka, and he is asking for 20,000 Rs to fix his missing arm. However he doesn’t not easily give his arm, he tells him to correct all the errors he has done in his life.

So he goes to Viren and ask forgiveness, and then he goes on to discover the prostitute he had met died because of his beatings. He is remorse struck, and tries to correct his errors. At that time he meets a blind man, and his friend. They both teach him about sacrifice. Finally the cripple understands that he should sacrifice his other arm to truly repent. At the end of the journey the cripple becomes a follower of Baba Rakhu Raka and he goes on the hunt for sinner’s arms and legs.

The story is filled with dark humour, and it is certainly surreal. But the important theme of the novel is the depiction of Bombay in the novel. It covers “magic, poverty, thievery, music, pollution, dancing, murder, and lust,” and by the end even “prayer”.


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D. Ronald Hadrian
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