City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi


By (author) William Dalrymple

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  • Publisher: Flamingo
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 194mm x 24mm | 259g
  • Publication date: 1 May 1996
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0006375952
  • ISBN 13: 9780006375951
  • Illustrations note: 15 b/w illus
  • Sales rank: 20,315

Product description

'Could you show me a djinn?' I asked. 'Certainly,' replied the Sufi. 'But you would run away.' From the author of the Samuel Johnson prize shortlisted 'The Return of a King', this is William Dalrymple's captivating memoir of a year spent in Delhi, a city watched over and protected by the mischievous invisible djinns. Lodging with the beady-eyed Mrs Puri and encountering an extraordinary array of characters - from elusive eunuchs to the last remnants of the Raj - William Dalrymple comes to know the bewildering city intimately. He pursues Delhi's interlacing layers of history along narrow alleys and broad boulevards, brilliantly conveying its intoxicating mix of mysticism and mayhem. 'City of Djinns' is an astonishing and sensitive portrait of a city, and confirms William Dalrymple as one of the most compelling explorers of India's past and present.

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Author information

William Dalrymple's first book, 'In Xanadu', won the Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award and the Scottish Arts Council Spring Book Award. His third, 'From the Holy Mountain', won the Scottish Arts Council Autumn Book Award and was shortlisted for the 1998 Thomas Cook Award. His fourth, 'The Age of Kali', was published in November 1998. He is the youngest Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has written and presented a six-part series on the buildings of the Raj for Channel 4.

Review quote

'Delightful ... Surely one of the funniest books about India' Times Literary Supplement 'Scholarly and marvellously entertaining ... a considerable feat' Dervla Murphy, Spectator 'Dalrymple has pulled it off again' Jan Morris, Independent

Editorial reviews

William Dalrymple's first book, In Xanadu, earned him many plaudits for the skill of his writing and observation. In City of Djinns his attention turns to the city of Delhi. During a year spent in the city as a newspaper correspondent, Dalrymple began to explore the history of this mysterious place in all its richness. He peels away the layers of the city one by one, exploring its past as the refuge of the Moghul emperor, meeting the last people to recall life under the British Raj, the mysterious eunuchs who live in the city. He visits the shrines, its crumbling palaces, the houses built by the British and explores the largesse of the literary culture which once flourished in the city, hunting for the setting of The Mahabharata. Day by day, he also explores the modern city, meeting its citizens, recording their lives and skirmishing with his taxi driver, and his landlord and landlady, Mr and Mrs Puri. Dalrymple gives us a sharp and detailed account of life in modern India, juxtaposing it with glimpses of Delhi's strange and magical history, providing an unforgettable portrait of one of India's most bewildering cities. Dalrymple is undoubtedly one of the best travel writers of his generation. He combines an insatiable curiosity with an adventurous spirit, folds an erudite and intriguing quest within a pleasing, lucid prose style. (Kirkus UK)