Paper Moon by Rehana Munir

If you have ever dreamt of owning a bookstore or a book cafe in Mumbai, this book is for you.

Fiza’s transition from being a usual college-goer to a successful businesswoman is smooth. Still, at the same time, you will also experience all the background struggle she goes through, from setting up the store to getting book cataloged, hiring employees, etc.

Not all is business in this world, but not everything is out of a dream. The best trait I loved about Fiza was that she has been coping with a breakup, working her way out of a dysfunctional family, yet superficially is a strong-headed mature lady with a heart of gold. There are bigger confusions in every person’s life, but what is important is how they hold themselves together and walk ahead.

I haven’t been to London and Edinburgh, but Bombay and books are my love, and this story of Fiza revolving around these two things has taken my heart away. The depictions of Bombay, London, and Edinburgh, are a plus. If you immerse yourself in the plot, you will be taken on an idyllic tour to the places of love.

It is slow in some places, but you will love it if you are a romanticist.

Some beautiful quotes from the book –

  • romantic declarations were a strict no-no, unless they were wry or ironic, and this one was decidedly cheesy.
  • To Dhruv, the future was to be invented. She, on the other hand, thought of the future as something to respond to.
  • Noor, for all her complexity, had simple tastes. Chaat and ganne ka ras. Paan and gajra. Rajnigandha and Bata. She was both easy and impossible to please. It was all about the moment.
  • But a second later, she found books entering the trolley of their own will, as if commanded by a Hogwarts spell. Virginia Woolf, Iris Murdoch, Muriel Spark – the holy trio were some of the first to jump in. Milan Kundera followed Amitav Ghosh, Dostoevsky chased Mario Vargas Llosa in some kind of mad hatter’s literary tea party. Nick Hornby and Sue Townsend added some laughs. Darwin and Nietzsche kept the rest in check. Rumi’s loftiness, Calvino’s bizarreness, Arundhati’s Royness – things were getting along nicely when Fiza realized this had to end.
  • She was still an avowed existentialist, but one who was compelled to believe in uplifting twists of fate.
  • Woh log bahut khush-qismat thay Jo ishq ko kaam samajhte thay Ya kaam se aashiqui karte thay
  • ‘Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack,’
  • “People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” Iris Murdoch,’
  • two travellers lost in a colourful maze of a million love stories going this way and that at that very moment.
  • One’s prime is elusive. You little girls, when you grow up, must be on the alert to recognise your prime at whatever time of your life it may occur. You must then live it to the full.

Available on Amazon Kindle Edition, Audiobook, Paperback, and Audio CD.


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