In Capital, Commonwealth Prize-winning author Rana Dasgupta examines one of the great trends of our time: The expansion of the global elite. Capital is an intimate portrait of the city of Delhi, which bears witness to the extraordinary transmogrification of India's capital. But it also offers a glimpse of what capitalism will become in the coming, post-Western world. The story of Delhi is a parable for where we are all headed.
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.
"A grim picture of a city run by oligarchs and the 'new black-money elite', where success depends on 'influence, assets, and connections'. This book is highly recommended for anyone looking for background information on Delhi.… The author’s account of the downside of the post-1991 free-market economy and the pursuit of self-interest above all serves as a cautionary tale, doing for Delhi what Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City accomplished for Mumbai.” (Library Journal)
“A sincere, troubling look at India’s wrenching social and cultural changes.” (Kirkus Reviews)
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RUINED BY READER
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.
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.
Sure, one of these years. It takes the history of the great Capital City up to today.
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.
- Alain "professor. like great and VERY good books, fiction and history, mainly"
Fascinating insight into Delhi
Sadly this insightful assessment of modern Delhi is diminished by poor narration. Mispronunciations abound.