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The boom following the opening up of India's economy plunged Delhi into a tumult of destruction and creation: Slums and markets were ripped down, and shopping malls and apartment blocks erupted from the ruins. Many fortunes were made, and in the glassy stores nestled among the new highways, customers paid for global luxury with bags of cash. But the transformation was stern, abrupt and fantastically unequal, and it gave rise to strange and bewildering feelings. The city brimmed with ambition and rage. Violent crimes stole the headlines.
In the style of V. S. Naipaul's now-classic personal journeys, Dasgupta shows us this city through the eyes of its people. With the lyricism and empathy of a novelist, Dasgupta takes us through a series of encounters - with billionaires and bureaucrats, drug dealers and metal traders, slum dwellers and psychoanalysts - which plunge us into Delhi's intoxicating, and sometimes terrifying, story of capitalist transformation. Together these people comprise a generation on the cusp, like that of Gilded-Age New York: Who they are, and what they want, says a tremendous amount about what the world will look like in the rest of the 21st century.
Interweaving over a century of history with his personal journey, Dasgupta presents us with the first literary portrait of one of the 21st century's fastest-growing megalopolises - a dark and uncanny portrait that gives us insights, too, as to the nature of our own – everyone's - shared, global future.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Tambi on 07-04-14
RUINED BY READER
Is there anything you would change about this book?
A different reader, one who can pronounce Indian words. More importantly, one who can read with intelligence and has read the book before he starts reading. Each sentence he "recites" ends with an iamb or a trochee. Many voices speak in this fascinating book, but the reader differentiates none, young or old, male or female.... A mess.
What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?
The book is fascinating. Those who know Delhi, particularly those who were fortunate enough to visit it before the turn of the millennium, and then later, will find it compelling -- accurate and distressing.
How could the performance have been better?
Do you think Capital needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
Sure, one of these years. It takes the history of the great Capital City up to today.
Any additional comments?
I am returning this book, and buying a hard copy where I can at least tell who is speaking, and understand the meaning of the narrative.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful