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by William Dairymple


Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780006375951
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/28/1996
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
546,441
Product dimensions:
5.14(w) x 7.79(h) x 0.84(d)

Overview

City of Djinns is the portrait of a city as has never been attempted before. Meeting an extraordinary array of characters, from the city's elusive eunuchs to the embattled descendants of the great Moghuls, from the nouveauriche Punjabis to the last witnesses of the British Raj, and investigating the resonances of these people and their ways with the India of the past, this is a unique and dazzling feat of research and adventure by one of the finest writers of his generation. Watched over and protected by the mischievous djinns - spirits invisible to the naked eye, 'like us in all things, but fashioned from fire' - Delhi has been saved many times over the centuries. From the desolate, run-down graveyards in which partridge-fighting has drawn crowds for hundreds of years to the exquisite palaces of the old city which now lie empty and crumbling, Dalrymple comes to know this bewildering place intimately. He conveys the magical nature of this city at the meeting point of all the great cultures of South Asia, a city that has been destroyed and rebuilt, forever being reborn under the care of its guardian djinns.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Delhi has a richly layered past, and Dalrymple (In Xanadu, McKay, 1990) deftly peels away each layer to reveal how the city came to be what it is today. Djinns are spirits said to be seen only after prolonged fasting and prayer; they too are integral to understanding the city. The author, a young Scot carrying on the fine British tradition of travel writing, has a knack for meeting fascinating people and capturing their most revealing remarks. He introduces us to dervishes, eunuchs, partridge fighting, weddings, and expatriates. His wife contributes sketches that nicely complement his text. Considering the importance of Delhi, the capital of the world's second most populous nation, this book deserves to be in most public and academic libraries.-Harold M. Otness, Southern Oregon State Coll. Lib., Ashland

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