Author: William Dalrymple
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0006375952
An entertaining mix of history and diary informed by a deep curiosity about the ways in which the ghosts of even the most distant past still walk Delhi in the twentieth century.
The city of djinns is Delhi and Dalrymple reveals is like a Dance of the Seven veils. It is very intricately organized: ostensibly structured around a year which he and his artist wife Olivia spent in Delhi, paced by vivid descriptions of weather change as signal of seasons, and by the formal punctuation of life, learning, loving and death.
These episodes are interspersed in counterpoint with historical sketches, which are organized in reverse chronology, beginning with the Sikh massacres after Indira Gandhi's death, back through partition, the Empire, and the East India Company, back through the Mughal empire into prehistory and archaeology .. The book is Dalrymple's journey into the soul of Delhi.
Scholarly and marvelously entertaining .. A considerable feat. - Spectator
Unlike much of modern travel writing, this book is informative, learned and funny . . A lively and sometimes profound book. - Economist
Much of the book's strength lies in Dalrymple's skill in peeling the historical onion and showing how new Delhi resonates with the old . . A splendid tapestry. - Sunday TelegraphIt is fine, entertaining, well-written stuff, thoroughly researched but with none of the stern academic tone that so many historical profiles adopt. What sustains it, apart from his erudite knowledge, is Dalrymple's sense of historical adventure. - Financial TimesThe finest labor of love on the capital in recent times. - India TodayAn expansive and inclusive work, richly peopled.. An enlightening and entertaining book. - Literary Review