Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer

At the very edge of its many interlocking worlds, the city of Bombay conceals a near invisible community of Parsi corpse bearers, whose job it is to carry bodies of the deceased to the Towers of Silence Segregated and shunned from society, often wretchedly poor, theirs is a lot that nobody would willingly espouse Yet thats exactly what Phiroze Elchidana, son of a reveredAt the very edge of its many interlocking worlds, the city of Bombay conceals a near invisible community of Parsi corpse bearers, whose job it is to carry bodies of the deceased to the Towers of Silence Segregated and shunned from society, often wretchedly poor, theirs is a lot that nobody would willingly espouse Yet thats exactly what Phiroze Elchidana, son of a revered Parsi priest, does when he falls in love with Sepideh, the daughter of an aging corpse bearerDerived from a true story, Cyrus Mistrys extraordinary new novel is a moving account of tragic love that, at the same time, brings to vivid and unforgettable life the degradation experienced by those who inhabit the unforgiving margins of history.
Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer At the very edge of its many interlocking worlds the city of Bombay conceals a near invisible community of Parsi corpse bearers whose job it is to carry bodies of the deceased to the Towers of Silen

  • Title: Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer
  • Author: Cyrus Mistry
  • ISBN: 9788192328058
  • Page: 331
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer”

    1. The Parsis are Gujurati speaking Zoroastrian believers, who live in India. Most of them live in or around Bombay, where the novel Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer, is set. Fire is held sacred by the Zoroastrians. They worship in Agiarys, also known as 'Fire Temples'.Traditionally, the Parsis dispose of their dead by placing corpses on the roofs of so-called Towers of Silence. They are left there so that vultures can pick them clean of flesh and other body parts that are likely to decay. Because fire [...]

    2. Set in pre-independence Parsi era, Chronicles is of a Corpse Bearer is the story of Phiroze Elchinda. Born to the head priest of ‘The Temple of Fire’, Phiroze is considered to be the blessed one. Born on a very auspicious day he is expected to take over his father in the priestly duties. Things however taken an unexpected turn when they realise that he is not academically a bright child; on the contrary he hates studies. He gallivants around Mumbai, breaks every rule in the book and finally [...]

    3. Exquisite story! Immaculate narrative!Oh! and all the hardships, miseries, and other 'onerous tasks' that a death brings, along with the grief and lachrymose period, for the loved ones of the deceased, and the different ways in which we react to them. This book, if nothing more, will manage to leave you flabbergasted not by its beautiful lines (which of course, it does have some) but by author's candid observations of death's cruelty and human's callow response to itThis book like every other we [...]

    4. Even though I am a Parsi, I knew next to nothing about the Khandias, the sub-caste responsible for handling the dead. The book was therefore an eye-opener. And while I had little sympathy for the main character - Phiroze - the book's vast cast of minor characters were engaging and the story interesting enough for me to keep turning the page. I found the narration a bit stilted but some of the dialogue was excellent and I could hear the Parsi accents in my head. I wouldn't read it for the writing [...]

    5. storia triste della sfiga intergenerazionale e della eterna impossibilità di sfuggirleElchi è un poveretto che per amore è precipitato giù dalla scala sociale del suo paese, ora già nasci in India e sei davvero in odore di sfortuna, poi nasci facendo parte della comunità parsi e qua cominciamo ad andare peggio, e infine, pur essendo per nascita destinato a sfangare la fame, ti innamori della figlia del tipo che prepara i cadaveri e quindi per sposarla precipiti giù dal tuo piedistallo, e [...]

    6. I use a very simple strategy for liking or disliking books. There are books that make sense or make you learn something. And then there are books like Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer by Cyrus Mistry, which transport you to an unknown world. And books like these always leave me stunned and asking for more. A story about a less known cast of Corpse Bearers residing in Mumbai amongst Parsi community, Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer is a story that will leave you enlightened about a hidden world and at th [...]

    7. 4.5 rounded upSimply amazing -- and if anyone is looking for something well out of the mainstream and very different, give this one a try. for a longer review, you can clickhere; otherwise, read on. At the age of eighty, Phiroze Elchidana (Elchi) sets down his life story. The son of the head priest of a Zoroastrian fire temple, Elchi lived with his parents and his brother Vispy. Elchi flunks his graduation exams, and while supposedly studying for the retake, he takes to wandering all over the ci [...]

    8. The tiny, but influential Zoroastrian community in India has often found its way into popular media, and has even been the subject of several stereotypes. The quirky bawa in a funny hat, driving around in a vintage car, is a familiar Bollywood trope. But Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer treads much deeper territory, dealing intimately with the people of the community and their beliefs.Zoroastrian philosophy is not its concern, nor is the book a historical saga about the Parsis in India. Instead it i [...]

    9. The premise of this book got me interested. The title is very arresting. A book about a 'corpse bearer' promises to be really different. Especially if the corpse bearer belongs to a religion as secretive and guarded like the Zonastrianism. When you see its written by a Parsi, your mind tells you it should be good. Add the fact that it is a literary prize winner, you get a hot mug of tea (or coffee of hot chocolate), fold your legs under you, become thoroughly comfortable in an easy chair and get [...]

    10. This book was recommended to me on my quest to read more books by Indian authors. The main gripe of mine when it comes to books like these is that they often dwell on the same old issues when it comes to India; poverty, caste system, gender-issues,etc. So much so, that it has kind of become a cliché and a trope. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those who believes these things dont exist or shouldnt be written about; sweeping these things under the carpet is not the solution and just reeks of [...]

    11. Like the dirty little secrets that honorable families take to their graves, this book deals with those we don't speak of in the already dwindling community of the Parsis; the 'nussesalars'. Largely an unflinching, melancholic yet often funny tale about social-discrimination, but at it's heart is the story of one man's undying love, his urge to exist and be heard.

    12. Completely underwhelmed by this book. By being snowballed under historical events and fact-recounting, the narrative focus shifts away from character build-up, a seamless plot, depth or poise, with so much telling and no showing. The only redeeming feature of this book is in educating people about the endearing and lovable Parsi community. Would have worked better as creative non-fiction.

    13. For full review visit booksteaandmorecom.wordpress.The book is focussed on the Parsi community in India based out of Mumbai. It follows the story of Phiroze son of a Parsi priest who falls in love with Sepideh. Sepideh is the daughter of a Parsi corpse bearer. The Parsi Corpse bearers have the task of taking the Parsi corpses from their homes to the tower of silence and cleaning them. They are looked down upon and often they stay together segregated from the other Parsi community.The Parsi corps [...]

    14. Set in pre Independence Bombay, this book follows Phiroze Elchidana, a Parsi from the community's corpse bearer caste. It follows his story as lives through an exile from his family, his initiation into the corpse bearer caste, and the rest of his life. The day he becomes a corpse bearer caste, he becomes a pariah in the eyes of observant Parsis, whose very touch can pollute them.The book features Phiroze's many musings on the nature of life and death, and how his experiences as a corpse bearer [...]

    15. Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer is a story in which a lot is written, but very little is said. On the whole, considering the potential of the subject matter at hand, I feel a tad underwhelmed by the book. The title rouses one’s interest, but the title may just be its most interesting part.Read more here: Rain and a Book

    16. I used to think that as far as fiction on Parsi life and culture is concerned, Rohinton Mistry has no equal. Little did I know, that his brother Cyrus Mistry easily qualifies as one. I was fascinated with the plot of Chronicles. ever since I heard Cyrus Mistry talk about it at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, last year. The very prospect that there is an 'untouchables' segment within the Parsi community was hard to stomach. I knew I had to read this book. I love the first person narrative and the m [...]

    17. If you think bare-naked depictions of want, of loss, of death and its surrounding hypocrisy make for a "heavy" subject, don’t read this. But if you want to be touched by the beauty these very bleak subjects can come clad in, please do. Don’t get me wrong because I don’t mean fineries. I mean that note of the softest of songs which carries power enough to make you sway. No loud grandeur, but a prose written with the deftness of effortless art; enough to make you cry at the deprivation portr [...]

    18. I can only recommend this book because it has stayed with me as more than a story. It was funny because I always thought I would be the kind of person that would find the social disturbances of Parsi’s more troubling than the imagined or true romances of the entrenched individual lives – especially since it’s based on a true story. Turns out that Cyrus has managed to break my logic down into strands of human emotion. And honestly, they do tug at your heart.The narrative flows like a calm r [...]

    19. A beautiful life-story of a Zoroastrian Corpse Bearer who was born to a high priest and willing chose to caste-down to marry his love. Set in an autobiographical tone during Independence era, his chronicles from childhood to death unfold in quite a compelling manner! One really enjoys the all important topics of love and death peppered with ritualistic orthodoxy, humor and cliched Hindi-Gujrati dialogues of Parsis.

    20. I don't read fiction, but because it is about one of my favourite Indian communities, I got this book; Cyrus Mistry is a fantastic writer and he has weaved a wonderful, potentially true story about a Parsi corpse bearer and his life. Terribly emotional and immensely thought-provoking. Get this book and you will know what a good Indian author reads like :)

    21. This book is a good read. The somber narrative holds the beauty, and grips the reader more often than not.It is a well written story. You experience a myriad of emotions – carefree (childhood days), love, aching heartbreaks, loneliness, bitterness, rudeness, repulsion. At the same time, there are portions, which won’t hold your attention and seem unnecessary. Read this book not for the love-story, but the central storyline, to know more about Parsis; there is way more to them than their food [...]

    22. Fascinating premise, interesting memoir style, lucid prose, informative narrative, vivid imagery, thought-provoking; recommended with a rating of four stars out of five.Secreted in the bustling city of pre-independence Bombay is a serene, calm, green forest that houses the Tower of Silence. The grove is also the abode of the Parsi corpse bearers whose job is to carry the dead to the Tower. This community of ‘khandias’ is considered unclean and ostracized by the rest of the Parsi community, a [...]

    23. This is definitely a one of it's kind book with a very interesting theme and culture associated with it. The book is centered around the main character and his thoughts - his past, his present and future. He oscillates between the present day and thoughts of his wife, family, childhood and musings about life and death which is consequential to his job as a corpse bearer. For someone who enjoys good writing, this is a must read. However, the plot itself is not really a memorable one. After a week [...]

    24. I first came across this book in an article listing 'Must read books in and about Mumbai'. I came to know about the ritual of exposing the dead to vultures only during my ephemeral stay in Mumbai. So the title of this book was enough to draw me to read it. The book transports you to their hidden world and leaves you stunned and questioning about the beliefs all together. The protagonist Phiroze himself narrates his story of how being a son of a priest, he got into the service in Tower of Silence [...]

    25. The story bears the burden of many things the society, struggle for independence, the struggle to find a bracket to fit into this so segregated society but the protagonist who leads the life of a corpse bearer seems to have found an answer for most of his struggles in forms of what he desires. An interesting read of a not so usual story line.

    26. Nice storyline! . Seems to be long and uninteresting at times. Took me a year to finish this on and off. Liked the beginning.

    27. Phiroze Elchidana is the second son of Famroze Elchidana, the well respected head priest of an agiary in Bombay. When he meets Sepideh one fine evening in the Doongerwadi, the Parsi funeral ground that houses the much famous tower of silence, he falls irrevocably in love, ready to marry into the sub community of the Khandias, aka the corpse bearers - the ones who "clean and swaddle (corpses) for the banquet of the birds" because of the "squeamishness and ingratitude" of the community, that in tu [...]

    28. Being a practicing zoroastrian, and someone who has spent time at the doongerwadi as a volunteer and otherwise, the topic was quite fascinating. The author obviously approaches it purely from an external view point, trying hard to make it sound like he was there (even tries to narrate it as first person). Though this works in some places, the drama of mumbai is completely lost and the period in which it is set was the golden age of both the city and the bawa-jis who had so much clout back then t [...]

    29. This marks many firsts for me: First Parsi story, First book by a Parsi author. First book by Cyrus Mistry (or any Mistry, for that matter).For the fact, Aleph Publishers haven't disappointed me. Starting from Tales of Fosterganj by Ruskin Bond I have held books from this publishers at very high regard and every-single-time they did reach, if not outreach, them.It can't be just coincidence, can it? How come every cover design of this publishers are so so terrific? I mean, one look at the cover [...]

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