Em and the Big Hoom


She was always Em to us. There may have been a time when we called her something ordinary like Mummy, or Ma, but I don’t remember. She was Em, and our father, sometimes, was the Big Hoom. In a tiny flat in Bombay Imelda Mendes – Em to her children – holds her family in thrall with her flamboyance, her manic affection and her cruel candour. Her husband – to whom she was once ‘Buttercup’ – and her two children must bear her ‘microweathers’, her swings from laugh-out-loud joy to dark malevolence. Here is the story of how this family of four came to be.

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Brilliantly comic and almost unbearably moving, Jerry Pinto’s Em and the Big Hoom is one of the most powerful and original fiction debuts of recent years.

‘Profoundly moving. I cannot remember when I last read something as touching as this’ Amitav Ghosh

‘Hilarious, reckless, brilliant’ Kiran Desai

In a tiny flat in Bombay Imelda Mendes – Em to her family – is by turns flamboyant, maniacally affectionate and cruelly candid. Her husband – Augustine, the ‘Big Hoom’ – and two children must endure her ‘microweathers’: swings from searing joy to brooding malevolence.

And here is the story of how this family of four came to be. Of how Imelda was courted by Augustine – ‘Hello, Buttercup’ – and of how with the passage of time and the arrival of her children she slowly turned into Em, loving and loathing a world terrified of her extravagant excesses . . .

‘A near-perfect account of a psychologically troubled mother. Touching and funny’ Irish Times

‘Delightful. Pinto is quite a genius with dialogue’ Guardian

Jerry Pinto has been a mathematics tutor, school librarian and journalist and is now associated with MelJol, an NGO that works in the sphere of child rights. He has edited several anthologies including, most recently, an anthology on his native city, Mumbai.

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Additional information

Weight 200 g
Dimensions 19.8 × 12.9 × 1.5 cm










1st paperback ed


823.92 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K

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