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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.