At the age of sixteen, Anees dropped out of school and left home to become a writer. He travelled across India and worked as a bellboy, waiter, shop assistant and ghost writer before joining advertising. He currently works as a Creative Director with FCB India. His published works include Vanity Bagh (winner of The Hindu Literary Prize for Best Fiction 2013), The Blind Lady's Descendants (winner of the Raymond Crossword Book Award for Best Fiction 2014 and the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award 2018), The Small-town Sea (winner of the Atta Galatta-Banaglore Literature Festival Book Prize for Best Fiction 2017), and The Odd Book of Baby Names. His works have been translated into French, German and several Indian languages.
Latif's life changes when he is appointed bellboy at the Paradise Lodge - a hotel where people come to die.
After his father's death, drowned in the waters surrounding their small Island, it is 17 year-old Latif's turn to become the man of the house and provide for his ailing mother and sisters. Despite discovering a dead body on his first day of duty, Latif finds entertainment spying on guests and regaling the hotel's janitor, Stella, with made-up stories. However, when Latif finds the corpse of a small-time actor in Room 555 and becomes a mute-witness to a crime that happens there, the course of Latif's life is irretrievably altered.
The Bellboy is as much a commentary on how society treats and victimizes the intellectually vulnerable as it is about the quiet resentment brewing against religious minorities in India today. With a mix of wry humour and heart-wrenching poignancy, the book narrates a young boy's coming-of-age on a small island, and his innocence that persists even in the face of adversity and inevitable tragedy.