Ravan and Eddie is a story of survival. A story of two young boys escaping from extreme poverty, from reality. It is a world where reality and fantasy co-exist and seem to be interchangeable.
Nagarkar writes always about people. Ideas, morals, ideologies and political agendas lurk in the wings ready to dart out and speak their piece when required.
It is a searing tale told with wit, pace and black humor.
This is based against the backdrop of Bombay, in the chawls. Nagarkar manages to bring out the dreary lives of those people who live there and how every day is to them a new fight for survival. The fact that he uses 2 religions as the plot of his book is interesting- telling us that it is not only one kind of people who suffer in these conditions.
His writing is easy, and unlike several of the women. The style is distinctly original, and most of all, it has a great sense of humour. (I feel like many of the women authors work too hard to make a social point -- good for social activism, but not always good for literature). Bombay is hardly described as much as felt, down to every last kite-flying day or queue at the water tap. .
His Bombay is divided by religion, petty politics and crime. People fight for water every morning, and live life out in the raw.
The book's plot is not all humourous but is lightened by Nagarkar's style of writing. He manages to keep a pace in the book with black humour, wit and satire. .
But he does speak of the social conditions and the indignities that women have to suffer- like when his Ravan's mother has to put up with her husband's mistress until she finally forces him to give her up. Also, there is a great emphasis on the male aspect of the family- there must always be sons in the family and Violet (Eddie's mother) is keeping on being harangued by her mother to get married again.
The book is mostly devoid of feeling- which makes the emotions in the book stand out all the better.