Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer

Book Review: Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer

Written by Cyrus Mistry, the story for the book was concieved in 1991 at a time when the author was working on a Channel 4 documentary on corpse bearers in Bombay’s Parsi community. The film was never made, but one story he heard in the course of his research stayed with him. That story was about a middle-class Parsi dock worker in the pre-independence era who married the daughter of a khandhia. The person who narrated the story was the son to this improbable marriage. 

The book essentially is an inspiration from that tale. Except, there isn’t a dock worker here. There’s Elchi (Phiroze Elchidana), son of a revered Parsi priest, narrating the story of his life – growing up in deeply religious Parsi household, being a non-achiever at school, falling in love with Seppy (Sepideh), the daughter of a khandhia, giving up his family to marry her, losing her soon after their daughter is born, and eventually his complete dignity amongst the Parsi community. 

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