Book Review: Ancestral Affairs by Keki N. Daruwalla
The strength of Daruwalla's characters keeps it from being merely a 'period' novel
Keki N. Daruwalla wields his pen as a poet as well as a writer of short stories and novels. Ancestral Affairs is his second novel and it comes to us with the tantalizing hint of being the tale of his own forebears. No doubt, there is much family anecdote and lore in this story, but it goes beyond the confines of a memoir and locates itself in the larger history of a people and a place. Actually, of many places, both small and big—the erstwhile kingdom of Junagadh, Murree in Pakistan, the city of Kanpur, assorted small military cantonments and, last but not least, that best of all Indian cities, Bombay (now Mumbai). Daruwalla’s main characters are all Parsis, but the many locations of the novel give us a diffused portrait of a subculture that is firmly rooted in the roiling, turbulent diversity of this country.