Book piracy is commonplace in India—you can find illegal copies of almost any popular book if you look hard enough. So it isn’t surprising that Maximum City, the acclaimed book about Mumbai, is available through the street press, nor perhaps that someone tried to sell it to its author, Suketu Mehta.
As Gary Shteyngart recounts in a recent issue of Travel & Leisure Magazine, Mehta’s taxi was stopped at a red light in Mumbai when a 14-year-old kid approached him with a pirated paperback copy of Maximum City. Mehta asked the boy what the book was about.
“Oh, all of Bombay is in this book!” the boy replied.
“Well, how much do you want?” Mehta asked.
“Six hundred rupees!” the kid said.
“Six hundred? Do you know I’ve written it?”
“Fine,” the kid shrugged. “If you’ve written it, you can have it for four hundred.”
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