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City of Djinns : A Year in Delhi (English)

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Language: English
Length: 360 Pages
Publisher: Penguin
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City of Djinns : A Year in Delhi (English) By William Dalrymple
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City of Djinns : A Year in Delhi (English) (Paperback) Price: Rs.244

City Of Djinns: A Year In Delhi is William Dalrymple’s second book about his love affair with India, more specifically in this case, the capital city of Delhi.

Summary Of The Book

Published five years after his first book, In Xanadu, City Of Djinns: A Year In Delhi is Dalrymple’s second publication, first published in 1994. Resulting from what he encountered over his six year stay in Delhi, the book is written in the form of a travelogue. The book has been composed in a way in which the history of the city is written backwards, going back in time from the 1984 riots and Indraprastha, to even the Pandavas.

Though technically a travelogue, the composition style is similar to a novel, as can be seen when he extols on what he means by calling Delhi a “bottomless seam of stories”. The stories and anecdotes are woven around the fiber of his and his wife’s daily interactions with various people of the city, including but not limited to taxi drivers, customs officials, his Sikh landlady, the cleaning lady and the gardener.

Besides his daily interactions, City Of Djinns: A Year In Delhi is a record of his efforts to dig deeper into the city’s mysterious past, facets long lost that even the inhabitants are unaware of most of it. Yet, Dalrymple even attempts to give a fresh lease of life to the allure of already famous structures such as the Red Fort and the Parliament buildings.

He explores the colorful nature of Delhi and the centuries of evolution that have made it what it is now. He goes as far back into its history that he attempts to find proof of the occurrence of the events in the Mahabharata.

City Of Djinns: A Year In Delhi is widely acclaimed by critics and readers alike and is a winner of the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award.

About William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple, born in 1965 in Scotland, is an award winning historian and author as well as a well known critic and broadcaster.

William Dalrymple has written other books like The Age of Kali, White Mughals, and The Last Mughal, The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi 1857.

He is one of the co-founders of the Jaipur Literature Festival. In 2012, he was appointed a Visiting Fellow in Humanities by Princeton University. Dalrymple was educated at Ampleforth College and Trinity College, Cambridge. He lives most of the year at his Mehrauli farmhouse in India with his wife Olivia. During the summer, he spends his time in London and Edinburgh.

Specifications of City of Djinns : A Year in Delhi (English) (Paperback)

Contributors
Authored By William Dalrymple
Author Info

William Dalrymple was born in Scotland and brought up on the shores of Firth of Forth. He is the author of five books of history and travel, including the highly acclaimed best-seller City of Djinns, which won the 1994 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Sunday Times... Read More

Book Details
Publisher Penguin
Imprint PENGUIN
Publication Year 2004
ISBN-13 9780143031062
ISBN-10 0143031066
Language English
Edition 1stEdition
Binding Paperback
Number of Pages 360 Pages
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Book Reviews of City of Djinns : A Year in Delhi (English)

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★★★★★
★★★★★
Dr. Shashank Prak...
29 Nov 2012
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A fantastic portrait of a newly resurrected city of a reborn nation.

The city of djinns is a fascinating travelogue, or said to be shaped like a novel about the historical capital of India. It revolves around the Life 'in' Delhi and 'of' Delhi, which was during the time of the book's conception in 90's.
From the recent politics of the subcontinent, Indira Gandhi's assassination, anti-sikh riot, 1947 independence and creation of two new states of India and Pakistan, the refugee camps in Delhi, its advancement thereafter.
Going in a retrograde fashion then, and describing the Imperial Lutyen's New Delhi and the life of all those Blighty sahabs and memsahabs; a...
()

The city of djinns is a fascinating travelogue, or said to be shaped like a novel about the historical capital of India. It revolves around the Life 'in' Delhi and 'of' Delhi, which was during the time of the book's conception in 90's.
From the recent politics of the subcontinent, Indira Gandhi's assassination, anti-sikh riot, 1947 independence and creation of two new states of India and Pakistan, the refugee camps in Delhi, its advancement thereafter.
Going in a retrograde fashion then, and describing the Imperial Lutyen's New Delhi and the life of all those Blighty sahabs and memsahabs; a...
The city of djinns is a fascinating travelogue, or said to be shaped like a novel about the historical capital of India. It revolves around the Life 'in' Delhi and 'of' Delhi, which was during the time of the book's conception in 90's.
From the recent politics of the subcontinent, Indira Gandhi's assassination, anti-sikh riot, 1947 independence and creation of two new states of India and Pakistan, the refugee camps in Delhi, its advancement thereafter.
Going in a retrograde fashion then, and describing the Imperial Lutyen's New Delhi and the life of all those Blighty sahabs and memsahabs; and also its degradation after independence.
Then he creates a scene of Mughal Grandeur, the sufis, fakirs, amirs, mughal havelis, nautch girls and old Delhi, the walled city of Shahajahanabad, the last mughal Bahadur Shah Zafar, and about the rugged life of the "living" mughals.
Going then back in history to the times of Sultans of Delhi, their atrocities and their corrupt historians and court writters, and accounts of various travellers.
Then comes the older Hindu Delhi and the Lal Kot, Prithviraj chauhan and Ghor, whose much material and substantial information is not available, and only exists in folklores and poems and short stories, as he says.

Finally William's search ends in an office of Archaeological Survey Of India office, where he finds answers to his question on the conception and creation of "Dilli"(Delhi).
Description of Mahabharata and the Delhi, then as Hastinapur and Indraprastha.And finally ending the journey at the Nigambodh Ghat, which is the first site where the city was born after the ritual of "Das ashwamedh yag".

The description of the city, its streets, life, people, and monuments has been described such that you feel like travelling along with William. Sometimes you will find yourself in the dark underground Mughal Tehkhanas or searching the Nehru library or standing in an old mansion, a fort or a palace.

A great portrait of a city whose different ages lay suspended side by side, which he describes as the "city of djinns" and which is as fascinating, and as old as history itself and as mystical and mythological as the stories which are heard in the alleys of the old Delhi.

William Dalrymple has rightly said, "Delhi is like a pheonix which rose from its own ashes century after century".

A fantastic portrait of a newly resurrected city of a reborn nation.
A great entertaining and well researched work indeed.

2 of 2 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
Piyush Singh
03 Oct 2011
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certified buyer
From 20th century Delhi to the Indraprastha of Mahabharata!!

I have been an ardent fan of William Dalrymple since I read his book 'The Last Mughal'. City of Djinns starts from the year 1993 and descends backward in time to the Mahabharata age when Delhi was known as Indraprastha. The narration is quite strong with a little bit of humour always there in between which really keeps you engrossed. The reader also gets to know the common man of this great city through the writer's acquaintances especially his landlady who's quite funny. Overall a nice book with lots of information about Delhi regarding it's history!!Looking forward to his next book 'Nine... ()

I have been an ardent fan of William Dalrymple since I read his book 'The Last Mughal'. City of Djinns starts from the year 1993 and descends backward in time to the Mahabharata age when Delhi was known as Indraprastha. The narration is quite strong with a little bit of humour always there in between which really keeps you engrossed. The reader also gets to know the common man of this great city through the writer's acquaintances especially his landlady who's quite funny. Overall a nice book with lots of information about Delhi regarding it's history!!Looking forward to his next book 'Nine...
I have been an ardent fan of William Dalrymple since I read his book 'The Last Mughal'. City of Djinns starts from the year 1993 and descends backward in time to the Mahabharata age when Delhi was known as Indraprastha. The narration is quite strong with a little bit of humour always there in between which really keeps you engrossed. The reader also gets to know the common man of this great city through the writer's acquaintances especially his landlady who's quite funny. Overall a nice book with lots of information about Delhi regarding it's history!!Looking forward to his next book 'Nine Lives'.

1 of 1 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
Abhinav Sethi
06 Apr 2014
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certified buyer
A deserved Thomas Cook to say the least.

Being a delhite, it was great to read about your city in a different light altoghether. Dalrymple lends a great insight into the history of Delhi in a hierarchy from the most recent events(like 1984) to the earlier times of British, the Muhals and Ibn Battuta as we go further. It is so good its like you're almost smelling the same thing, viewing the scene from his eyes.
The con, well... in my opinion the distribution of the chapters wasn't exactly the same which led to some chapters having a greater impact on the reader. The Sikh massacre of 1984 was given lesser priority than the British.

0 of 0 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
Debbasish Das
18 Aug 2013
Great Literary Treat

Trust this Scot-man describe and co-relate the past and present in a refreshingly straight-forward , lucid and intelligent literary feat, that I think, no Indian writer can achieve..For all his research and his intuitive ear & eyes for details, possible only by grace of the God, I hope his services should be used by the authorities in restoring/re-telling/publicizing the forgotten monuments and places for benefit of not-only history-buffs and foreigners, but also to our own countrymen, school-children, and future generations..

0 of 0 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
rammohan1948@gmai...
08 Jul 2013
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certified buyer
A writer who loves Delhi

1 way to express is that I have bought 9 copies for so far and gifted away to people who had lived in Delhi but did not know about many of the places described touchingly. We spend so much of our lives in a city and know the most obvious places. Never do we think of the history of the city. Delhi is the best choice for it and Dalrymple is the ideal writer. This got me to 5 other titles of Dalrymple.

0 of 0 users found this review helpful.

Recent Top Reviews

View all
★★★★★
★★★★★
Abhinav Sethi
06 Apr 2014
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
A deserved Thomas Cook to say the least.

Being a delhite, it was great to read about your city in a different light altoghether. Dalrymple lends a great insight into the history of Delhi in a hierarchy from the most recent events(like 1984) to the earlier times of British, the Muhals and Ibn Battuta as we go further. It is so good its l... (View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
Debbasish Das
18 Aug 2013
Great Literary Treat

Trust this Scot-man describe and co-relate the past and present in a refreshingly straight-forward , lucid and intelligent literary feat, that I think, no Indian writer can achieve..For all his research and his intuitive ear & eyes for details, possible only by grace of the God, I hope his se... (View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
rammohan1948@gmai...
08 Jul 2013
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
A writer who loves Delhi

1 way to express is that I have bought 9 copies for so far and gifted away to people who had lived in Delhi but did not know about many of the places described touchingly. We spend so much of our lives in a city and know the most obvious places. Never do we think of the history of the city. Delhi... (View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
SOMEN SENGUPTA
08 Feb 2013
He knows Delhi better than us

Everytime I land up at Delhi to stand infront of any of it's incalculatable historical monuments or ruins this book plays a silent music somwhere in my mind - this is the book that first gave me a vivid details of all seven capitals that this great city housed over the period of time.Be it the Lu... (View complete review)

★★★★★
★★★★★
Vasudha T
04 Jan 2013
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
Inspired me to look at my city differently

This book is an excellent combination of a travelogue and the history of Delhi. It is obvious that WD is passionate about Delhi and the time he has spent here. He dives into the the gullies of Old Delhi to emerge to the roads of Lutlyens Delhi. He takes readers to the largely ignored North Delhi... (View complete review)

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