Mango Cheeks, Metal Teeth

Mango Cheeks, Metal Teeth

‘Lovely, lovely read! Part Malgudi Days, part The God of Small Things.’ Anuja Chauhan

'Aruna’s experience as a writer and columnist is evident with her language. Humour flows effortlessly for her, which is the biggest strength of the novel.' The Hindu

‘I am very grateful to have my faith in new Indian fiction restored. This is a classic, timeless book that illuminates and entertains by turn.’ Suchi Govindarajan

‘A delightful read from start to finish. There were places where I was grinning so much as I read it that my kids were looking at me strangely. But under the humour, the frivolity, the nostalgia of an Eighties life, there are several growing-up lessons taking place. Yet, the book never gets maudlin… although it does leave you with an ache for things that could have been. Brilliant writing.’ Andaleeb Wajid


Set in small-town Kerala of the 1980s, Mango Cheeks, Metal Teeth is part coming-of-age story, part social satire and part comedy of errors. Geetha, elevenish, is off for the annual family vacation in Kerala and is looking forward to all the fun with her cousins – visits to the beach and trips to the market to buy glass bangles and kites and shuttlecocks, evenings in the veranda listening to her grandfather’s ridiculous ghost stories which he swears are all true, marathon card games and ferocious boys-versus-girls battles with the bristles of brooms made from coconut fibre…

But as the summer unfolds, Geetha finds herself spending more time instead at the back of the house with the free-spirited cook, the hypochondriac cleaner, the virile gardener, a cheeky helper girl… ...And Babu, son of Koovait Kannan, the bumbling plumber who made good. Babu’s family is immersed, meanwhile, in the wedding preparations for Babu’s sister, who is marrying the most eligible bachelor in the neighbourhood: Constable Venu, an expert thrasher of suspects and son of that wealthy black-marketer of supplies, Ration Raaman. But Babu’s mind is otherwise occupied… with thoughts of a face as rounded as a Malgova mango, of an oiled plait as thick as the ropes used to tie the fishing boats, of eyes that sparkle like the sea on a sunlit morn…

As Geetha and Babu’s closely linked but widely divergent lives intersect, both are about to lose some of the blissful ignorance and innocence of childhood. Charmingly quirky and often laugh-out-loud hilarious, Mango Cheeks, Metal Teeth gently explores the themes of growing up, loss of innocence and the intimate yet aloof nature of upstairs-downstairs relationships.

Title:Mango Cheeks, Metal Teeth
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9789383260546
Format Type:

    Mango Cheeks, Metal Teeth Reviews

  • Em*bedded-in-books*

    One of the best ever books I read this year, worth a definite re read. The simple story touched the chords of my heart, being someone who grew up in the Kerala of the 80s and 90s. I could identify wit...

  • Girish

    Aruna Nambiar's book took the easy way out when it came to the setting - 80s Kerala summer vacations with a big joint family with it's extended characters of maids/help. Family rituals, Cousins bondin...

  • Rebecca

    Nostalgic!!! Brought me back to my childhood in my ancestral home...And I finished it in two days which says something about the book though it is not a mystery or thriller.. Actually the events are t...

  • Chitra Ahanthem

    Aruna Nambiar's debut 'Mango Cheeks, Metal Teeth' is a book that will settle comfortably with every kind of reader. It is soaked in nostalgia - over simpler times when summer vacation meant family get...

  • Neha

    Do you remember the Summer holidays - the visit to the grannies home, the train and car journeys, the meeting of the families, the gathering of the cousins, the games in the summer heat, the gorging o...

  • Swati

    I picked up this book based on reviews, which said it's "part Malgudi Days, and part God of Small Things." R K Narayan is a firm favourite and combined with the setting in "1980s Kerala" I was sold. M...

  • Moumita Laha

    Hope onto the nostalgia train as this book takes you down memory lane of your childhood days spent at your ancestral home with grandparents, mamas-mammys, mousa-mousi, and cousins. Of summer vacations...

  • Karishma

    Utterly charming tale of childhood summer holidays with the grandparents. Many many issues were touched upon in this tale, but with lightness and kindness. There isn't huge drama or deep exploration o...

  • Girija (thesacredwhispers)

    ⭐⭐⭐.75/5Mango Cheeks Metal Teeth, a debut novel by Aruna Nambiar is a simple sweet tale that takes you back in time, makes you nostalgic and reminds you of the childhood days when summer vacatio...

  • Viju

    3.5 starsBook 50 for 2020. Got this via Kindle Unlimited since I was looking for a light read. A very endearing story of a teenager from Bombay who goes back home for summer vacation to her village in...