Book Review: The Education of Yuri by Jerry Pinto

Namrata reviews Jerry Pinto’s latest book, The Education of Yuri (Speaking Tiger, 2022) emphasizing how everything about this book spells classic. 

 “We are born alone, and we die alone. In between, we reach out to other people.”  

 From the book blurb 

Jerry Pinto’s latest work of fiction, The Education of Yuri (Speaking Tiger, 2022) is a tender portrayal of a young boy growing up in Bombay in the 1980s. Jerry Pinto is one of India’s finest writers with award-winning works to his credit across genres ranging from translation, poetry, memoirs, and fiction. Time and again, he has proved that he is a writer par excellence. In his writings, he is known to capture Mumbai and its nuances with an unmatched exactness. This is exactly what he does with The Education of Yuri too. Mumbai (then- Bombay) is the heart of this story which takes you through some of the early days of Yuri, as he grows up in the 80s. 

Pinto tells us his story with a certain profundity while still keeping it tender and funny. In many ways, The Education of Yuri is a coming-of-age story revolving around friendship, relationships, sexuality, and politics. The cherry on top of this book has to be the amazing poets Pinto introduces us to. Some known, some unknown, some known yet forgotten – the list of the poets he helps us rediscover through Yuri is long and intense. The protagonist Yuri has an awakening through these poems. He finds himself in those verses and the works of the various poets as he grapples through adulthood trying to find an answer to the eternal question – Who am I? 

 After Manto, if there is a writer who can capture the multifaceted Mumbai in his writings so accurately, it has to be Jerry Pinto. And yet, each of his works seems to talk about a different aspect of Mumbai. It doesn’t look like he is talking about the same city. Like in this book, he talks about growing up in Mahim and then attending a college in South Mumbai. The difference between these two areas of Mumbai is substantial. They are two different worlds and if one was to cross over to the other, it would seem like a huge shock to them.

Read the full review on Kitaab