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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) (Paperback) Price: Rs. 302

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.

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

Book Details
Publisher Penguin
ISBN-10 0143031066
Edition 1stEdition
Imprint PENGUIN
Number of Pages 360 Pages
Publication Year 2004
Language English
ISBN-13 9780143031062
Binding 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 Young British Writer of the Ye...View More
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 Young British Writer of the Year Award. His previous book, White Mughals, garnered a range of prizes, including the prestigious Wolfson Prize for History 2003 and the Scottish Book of the Year Prize. It was also shortlisted for the PEN History Award, the Kiriyama Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. A stage version by Christopher Hampton has been co-commissioned by the National Theatre and the Tamasha Theatre Company. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Asiatic Society, Dalrymple was awarded the 2002 Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for his 'outstanding contribution to travel literature' and the Sykes Medal of the Royal Society of Asian Affairs in 2005 for his contribution to the understanding of contemporary Islam. He wrote and presented three television series, Stones of the Raj, Sufi Soul and Indian Journeys, the last of which won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series at BAFTA in 2002. In December 2005 his article on the madrasas of Pakistan was awarded the prize for Print Article of the Year at the 2005 FPA Media Awards. He is married to the artist Olivia Fraser, and they have three children. They divide their time between London, Scotland and Delhi.
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Reviews of City of Djinns : A Year in Delhi (English) (Paperback)

4.3

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Based on 42  ratings

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★★★★★
★★★★★

Isha Aggarwal

Jun 3, 2015

Enchanting Chronicle of Delhi’s History

Written by Dalrymple, during a brief sojourn of eleven months in Delhi with his wife, City of Djinns emerges as a part travelogue, part memoir, past history. Built on the banks of Jumna river; the author travels to every nook and corner of the city and brings fore the ghosts of the seven cities of D… (View complete review)
★★★★★
★★★★★

Saad Hashmi

Dec 30, 2014

So much like Dilli!

City of Djinns is a very close representation of Delhi, quite like Khushwant Singh's work(s).
Mrs Puri, the landlady epitomises a 'Dilliwaali Punjabi' landlady.
The author's portrayal of Delhi and its inhabitants is phenomenal - it really is one of the most interesting books you'd come acros…
(View complete review)
★★★★★
★★★★★

Abhinav Sethi

Apr 6, 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 like… (View complete review)
★★★★★
★★★★★

Debbasish Das

Aug 18, 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 … (View complete review)
★★★★★
★★★★★

rammohan1948@gmail.com Dayasagar

Jul 8, 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 is… (View complete review)

Top reviews

View all top reviews(13)

'Top Reviews' lists the most relevant product reviews only. Show ALL instead?

★★★★★
★★★★★

Dr. Shashank Prakash Srivastava

Nov 29, 2012

The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer

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; and
★★★★★
★★★★★

Piyush Singh

Oct 3, 2011

The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
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 Liv
★★★★★
★★★★★

Isha Aggarwal

Jun 3, 2015

Enchanting Chronicle of Delhi’s History

Written by Dalrymple, during a brief sojourn of eleven months in Delhi with his wife, City of Djinns emerges as a part travelogue, part memoir, past history. Built on the banks of Jumna river; the author travels to every nook and corner of the city and brings fore the ghosts of the seven cities of Delhi which has been inhabited and abandoned many times in history, but never destructed. Constructed from conversations with guardians of old traditions and history and a new generation demonstrated by the likes of Mrs. Puri and remnants of ruins, the book keeps moving back and forth the various per
★★★★★
★★★★★

Saad Hashmi

Dec 30, 2014

So much like Dilli!

City of Djinns is a very close representation of Delhi, quite like Khushwant Singh's work(s).
Mrs Puri, the landlady epitomises a 'Dilliwaali Punjabi' landlady.
The author's portrayal of Delhi and its inhabitants is phenomenal - it really is one of the most interesting books you'd come across if you are even slightly interested in the North Indian culture.,
★★★★★
★★★★★

Abhinav Sethi

Apr 6, 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 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.
★★★★★
★★★★★

Debbasish Das

Aug 18, 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..
★★★★★
★★★★★

rammohan1948@gmail.com Dayasagar

Jul 8, 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 is the best choice for it and Dalrymple is the ideal writer. This got me to 5 other titles of Dalrymple.
★★★★★
★★★★★

SOMEN SENGUPTA

Feb 8, 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 Lutyen's New Delhi or Tughlaqabad Dalrymple ensured details of history in a scotch like smoothness of language.No Indian before this has ever tried to present Delhi to us in this way - a collector's item and no doubt a guide that not only makes your travel easy but also make you a scolar when you real
★★★★★
★★★★★

Vasudha T

Jan 4, 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 too. The highs and lows of his and his wife's everyday life like dealing with the landlady or the "regular" taxiwala adds a personal element to the junkets and reams of history.

Thankfully this is no "kitchy" India travelogue. It is a fun and enlighting journey into the open grounds as well as the no
★★★★★
★★★★★

Madhan

Dec 29, 2012

The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer

Sometimes magnificient, sometimes too slow

The author paints the history of Delhi through the pre-Mughal, Mughal and British eras. It is fascinating at times to read about places that you see often in the city and the varied history behind them. But, the book gets a bit boring and slow at times given the specifics the author delves into. But, the anecdotes and a few good one liners make this book reading once worthy!
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