Capital: A Portrait of Twenty-First Century Delhi (Hardback)

by Rana Dasgupta

Format: Hardback 512 pages

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'Driving along the dusty, congested roads of central Delhi gives no sense of the verdant landscape behind the high walls that line them: it is only when you ascend, for instance, to the top of the Taj Hotel, that you can look down and see that these roads are but arid strips through an enormous expanse of green. The several-acre lawns of the politicians' bungalows add up to a great garden tract of their own. The Mughal tombs at either end of Lodhi Road have expansive grounds of lawns and fountains; between them is the pleasant botanical sprawl of Lodhi Gardens, home to diplomatic joggers and unmarried lovers, who go - the lovers, that is - to hold hands and kiss under its bushes.' At the turn of the twenty-first century, acclaimed novelist Rana Dasgupta arrived in Delhi with a single suitcase. He had no intention of staying for long. But the city beguiled him - he 'fell in love and in hate with it' - and fourteen years later, Delhi is still his home. Fourteen years of break-neck change. 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. Immense 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 macabre rage. Bizarre crimes stole the headlines. In Capital, we see Delhi 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. Interweaving over a century of history with his personal journey, he presents us with the first literary portrait of one of the twenty-first 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.

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Canongate Books Ltd


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