JOSSIE traces the unpredictable destiny of Talent. It is a biography set in small-town Mangalore, India of the 1920s and 30s and subsequently in Mumbai. The story’s protagonist, Jossie Arthur, a bohemian character of immense talent splices together opposing cultures in both cities, causing ripples among the groups and individuals with whom he interacted. The path of his own strange destiny becomes the subject of this true-life story. For a decade or two, he can be said to have revolutionised the musical taste and culture of Mangalore of the 20s and 30s, his string trio melding the serious and traditional with the light and playful to become a rage of his time. With his iconoclasm and his magnetic personality he strove to smash some of the narrow walls that divided the religious communities of that time, particularly among the Protestants and the Catholics, two groups with diametrically opposing cultures.
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Mar 3, 2013If there is one guarantee that Ivan Arthur offers in his writing, it is that he is unfailingly entertaining. His writing bristles with witticisms, irony, slapstick humor, and belly laughs. But they are not of the cheap or predictable kind or funny merely on the surface. They evoke a setting, an ethos, and believable, bouncing characters who typify a community--in this case, the Bombay Christians, who may have roots back in Mangalore or Goa, and have been transplanted in Vasai, Bandra, or Amboli. I can relate well having gone to school in that village and walked the neighborhoods and attended church, or knocked down illicit fruit from the neighbor's trees. But even if you have not mingled in bazaars or shared local hooch with these guys; even if you an alien to this part of the world, Ivan Arthur uses a lens that pulls back from a tight close-up to a wide-angle view of this world. There is the story of Jossie and the parallel narrative of Elkazi who is a legend in theatre circles in... More > India, particularly the English theatre. From modest beginnings, both characters traverse an ambitious road to success overcoming odds and exploiting opportunities. Alongside, the ripening moment of India's independence, the communal tensions, the vagaries and pretences of Anglicised locals, everything gets airtime. I whole-heartedly endorse this book and promise the reader a good time. Not the least of which derives from the expert use of lingo and idiom.< Less
Feb 10, 2013Jossie depicts the travails of an admirable character, a small town immigrant from Mangalore who makes his life in the big bad city of Bombay. He meets many interesting characters during his life"s journey , some well known and some less known but equally loveable. Jossie is gifted with exceptional talent: he is an artist, animator, musician. writer and last but not least, a philosopher extraordinaire. He shows a detachment from money true to the Catechism of the Church -'whoever loves money never has enough..' (Ecclesiastes 5:10) Ivan's writing style is both unique and refreshing and thankfully so different from the Indian writers of the day. The language is stimulating, easy and unencumbered with a deft use of metaphor. For anyone who knows Mangalore the port city in the South of India some of the subtle cultural nuances are guaranteed to tickle your soul. I would recommend this book to just about anyone for pure reading pleasure and the stimulus of well written prose.
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- Jossie Arthur (Standard Copyright License)
- Second Edition
- December 21, 2012
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