*One of NPR's "Books We Love 2021"*
"You may think you’re reading a novel with an improbable premise. But this is a true account of people in India who literally live on, and make their living from, other people’s garbage."
—Named one of '51 favorite books of 2021' by the Washington Independent Review of Books
"A distressing account of life on the Deonar garbage mountains outside Mumbai, this book chronicles the life of Farzana Ali Shaikh and her family to paint a broader picture of how families survive while literally surrounded by trash. Carefully researched and written with a lot of heart, this book opens a door into a different way of life – one in which people are forced to make a living in an incredibly unhealthy and dangerous environment while the government repeatedly fails to find sustainable, humane solutions."
—Gabino Iglesias, NPR
"'I came to see the mountains as an outpouring of our modern lives,' Roy writes, 'of the endless chase for our desires to fill us.' Readers of Behind the Beautiful Forevers will be drawn to this harrowing portrait."
"This powerful real-life tale from India reads like fiction."
—C.B. Santore, Washington Independent Review of Books
"Roy has a journalist's unflinching eye, a poet's talent for detail, and a radical sense of empathy that illuminates this account of the people who live on the Deonar garbage mountains. Urgent as a thriller, yet lingering in its unforgettable portraits of life, love and death, Castaway Mountain deserves every accolade. A stunning achievement."
—Kiran Desai, Booker Prize Winner, author of Inheritance of Loss.
"Saumya Roy's gorgeous Castaway Mountain is a remarkable feat of immersive reporting and story-telling, a deeply-felt exploration of ideas, and a gripping chronicle of the fates of the garbage-pickers of Mumbai; Roy immerses you so deeply in her characters' lives and physical environment that at times I felt I was experiencing them myself. I loved this book."
—Suzy Hansen, author of Notes on a Foreign Country
"It is rare that a book is a deeply moving love story with unforgettable characters while also illuminating a country and a culture. Saumya Roy’s book is a riveting love story set in the harrowing world of life as a trash picker on Mumbai’s garbage mountain. Read it for a most delicious story, read it to understand India, read it to know what it is like to grow up in extreme poverty in the shadow of enormous wealth. If you read one book about India, read this one."
—Geeta Anand, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Cure
"A terrific and thrilling book about people who are trapped in the gravitational force of a garbage mountain in Mumbai. What a delightful and powerful experience it is to read a good book about India."
—Manu Joseph, author of Serious Men
"A non-fiction book that apparently reads like a thrilling page-turner. . . Sounds like an eye-opening read."
"Equal parts intergenerational saga, love story, and courtroom drama, Castaway Mountain is a powerful book that will change the way you think about the world."
—Joy Batra, Brown Girl Magazine
"There have been many books, fiction and nonfiction, about Mumbai’s slums. What makes this one stand out for me is that it’s been written by someone who has not only lived and worked with the people described here but has also invested time and effort trying to disentangle some of the government policies and legal challenges they have and are still dealing with."
—Jenny Bhatt, Desi Books