I first heard about Milk Teeth a couple of months ago on Instagram. I knew the book was set in Mumbai so when found out that it was available for free on Kindle Unlimited I immediately picked it up. So what did I think about it? Read on to find out.
About The Book
Childhood allies Ira Kamat and Kartik Kini meet on the terrace of their building in Matunga, Mumbai. A meeting is in progress to decide the fate of the establishment and its residents. And the zeitgeist of the 1990s appears to have touched everyone and everything around them.
Ira is now a journalist on the civic beat, unearthing stories of corruption and indolence, and trying to push back memories of a lost love. Kartik works a corporate job with an MNC, and leads a secret, agonising, exhilarating second life. Between and around them throbs the living, beating heart of Mumbai, city of heaving inequities and limitless dreams.
Author: Amrita Mahale
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Westland Context
Date Of Publication: 22 November 2018
Source: Kindle Unlimited
How do I even begin to describe Milk Teeth? This novel was certainly nothing that I expected it to be. Written beautifully, the book perfectly describes the feeling of “Bombay”, something that I’m sure any Mumbaikar can relate to easily. The first few chapters are pure nostalgia and I breezed through them easily.
Set during the ’90s, Milk Teeth tells us about a very transitional part of Mumbai history. Change and development were finally coming to the city. India had opened up to foreign investment and so came in the influx of jobs and westernization to the normal middle class. I loved the sense of familiarity and closeness that I got from this book.
The book is full of instances that make you fall in love with the hustle and bustle of Mumbai city. Its local trains, the udupi restaurants and irani cafes. The architecture of old Bombay along with that of the newer buildings. The annual monsoon that is both dreaded and loved. I can name so many more parts of this book that I could relate to so well. If you want a book that’s quintessentially Mumbai, this is the one for you.
Coming to the story, the book tells us about two childhood friends, Ira and Kartik, who were inseparable until life broke them apart. We see them grow up into adults and how much their lives changed along the way. Their friendship is one of the main underlying themes of Milk Teeth and I loved seeing how it grew.
“Change” was also one of the themes in the book that I found interesting. How the city changed and how its people changed along with it. How the lives of our main characters changed and how they come to terms with it. The book also speaks about the wealth of the city. How each person thinks they’re better of than the rest. How the rich don’t realise their priviledge and how the poor and middle class struggle for survival.
The one thing that prevented me from giving a full five stars for this was the pace of the book. While it started out great in the first half, the second half seemed to have moved on too quickly. I lost myself and kept having to go back a couple of pages because so much happens in a couple of paragraphs that I seemed to have missed. I wish the story could have gone on a few pages more, especially after the ending that it had.
Would I recommend this book? Definitely! It’s a very light read and one can easily finish it in a single sitting.
About The Author
Amrita Mahale was born in Mumbai and grew up in five cities across India. Milk Teeth, her first novel, was published by Westland Context in November 2018. Amrita was part of the Sangam House writing residency in 2017-18 and her writing has appeared in Hindustan Times, Scroll, Himal Southasian and Brown Paper Bag. She was trained as an aerospace engineer at IIT Bombay and Stanford University.
You can find Milk Teeth for purchase on Amazon.