Em and The Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto Category: Fiction Publisher: Aleph Book Company (2012)

Book Summary

Winner of The Hindu Literary Prize 2012.


In a one-bedroom-hall-kitchen in Mahim, Bombay, through the last decades of the twentieth century, lived four love-battered Mendeses: mother, father, son and daughter. Between Em, the mother, driven frequently to hospital after her failed suicide attempts, and The Big Hoom, the father, trying to hold things together as best he could, they tried to be a family.

Read an Extract

She was in Ward 33 again, lying in bed, a bed with a dark green sheet and a view of the outside. We could both see a man and a woman getting out of a taxi. They were young and stood for a while, as if hesitating, in front of the hospital...

Read more
Watch a Video
Praise for the Book
  • Using all the strength of his enormous talent, his natural empathy, Pinto chases the elusive portrait of a mother who ... Read more

  • This novel about a boy growing up in Mumbai with a mentally afflicted mother is utterly persuasive ... Read more

  • "Deeply engrossing, finely-tuned, and told with a moving and luminous clarity, this is a splendid and memorable debut." - Arundhati Subramaniam in The Hindu... Read more

  • "The novel’s success lies in its characterisation of Catholics, suffering women and domineering men." - Eunice de Souza in Pune Mirror... Read more

  • Jerry Pinto’s novel 'Em and the Big Hoom', which was awarded the Hindu Literary Prize for 2012, wins the Crossword Book Award for Fiction 2013 Read more

  • The Hindu Literary Prize goes to Jerry Pinto Read more

  • 'Deeply engrossing, finely-tuned, and told with a moving and luminous clarity, this is a splendid and memorable debut.' Read more

  • Insanely Good. Read more

  • 'Pinto’s prose quicksilvers its way through time and emotions, slipping in wit and pulling out despair elegantly. The novel is neatly structured, punctuated by little detours that help flesh out the plot and its players, and holds the reader’s attention.' Read more

  • 'Em and the Big Hoom is a marvellously evocative book about Mumbai—and a searing tale about the havoc that mental illness wreaks on a family.' Read more

  • 'Em and the Big Hoom is a joyous read that leaves you chuckling and sad, at once.' Read more

  • 'Pinto’s narrative is both brutal and beautiful.' Read more

  • 'No one since James Joyce and Arundhati Roy has been better able to capture the bewilderment of a child and his mother in a mad, mad world.' Read more

  • '...[T]his novel is worth every minute of your time' Read more

  • 'Em and The Big Hoom demands a sensitive reading and offers many interesting aspects for understanding how a single life is shaped by abstract concepts.' Read more

  • [Em and The Big Hoom] glides into the greyness of tragicomedy, resorting as often to mirth as to distress and as often to love as to anger. Read more

  • Time-Out – Em and The Big Hoom – Home truth: Jerry Pinto on his new novel Read more

  • Mid-Day – Em and The Big Hoom – 'I wrote 27 drafts for Em and the big Hoom'… Read more

  • Times Crest – Em and The Big Hoom – ‘Our interest in the mentally ill is largely voyeuristic' Read more

  • The Times of India – Em and The Big Hoom – Jerry Pinto on Mumbai, madness and more Read more

Forthcoming Titles
  • CITY OF SPIES by Sorayya Khan

    ‘God was everywhere, but so was the general.’


    It is the summer of 1977 and Pakistan swelters in the unrelenting heat. Weeks after her eleventh birthday, Aliya Shah wakes up to the news that there has been a coup d’état, General Zia has taken over the country and Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is in jail. Although the shadow of the general and his increasingly puritanical edicts threaten to disrupt their comfortable existence, life goes on for Aliya much as before as she attends the American 

    School in Islamabad.


    However, when a much loved young boy, the son of the family retainer, dies tragically in a hit-and-run accident, her world is turned upside down, especially when she discovers the terrible secret of the murderer’s identity.


    City of Spies is coming-of-age story that explores Aliya’s conflicting loyalties and her on-going struggle to make sense of her world. Set in late 1970’s Islamabad and Lahore, City of Spies is a gripping novel that unfolds over thirty months in Pakistan’s tumultuous history.

  • This Unquiet Land: Dispatches from India’s Fault Lines by Barkha Dutt

    India’s best-known journalist records her experiences on the front lines of every newsworthy event in the country over the past decade-and-a-half.

  • Korma, Kheer and Kismet: Five Seasons in Old Delhi by Pamela Timms

    In the rich tradition of great culinary memoirs, an expat foodie in Delhi writes about stumbling upon some of the best food she has ever eaten in her life in the old city.

  • All of Us in Our Own Lives by Manjushree Thapa

    In her new novel, one of South Asia’s most sensitive, sophisticated and politically engaged authors, examines issues of development and corruption in contemporary Nepal.