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Capital : A Portrait of Twenty-First Century Delhi - Rana Dasgupta


A Portrait of Twenty-First Century Delhi


Published: 26th March 2014
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RRP $34.99

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Published: 26th March 2014
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At the turn of the twenty-first century acclaimed novelist Rana Dasgupta arrived in the Indian capital 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 has become his home.

Capital tells the story of Delhi's journey from walled city to world city. It is a story of extreme wealth and power, of land grabs and a cityscape changed almost beyond recognition. Everything that was slow, intimate and idiosyncratic has become fast, vast and generic; every aspect of life has been affected—for the poor, the middle classes and the super-rich.

Through a series of fascinating personal encounters Dasgupta takes us inside the intoxicating, sometimes terrifying transformation of India's fastest-growing megacity, offering an astonishing 'report from the global future'.

Read Caroline Baum's Review

I consider Suketu Mehta's Maximum City, a portrait of Mumbai, to be one of the most thrilling books I have ever read about a city. I did not expect it be matched by a portrait of a place many people describe as dull and charmless: the Canberra of India is one expression I've heard when it comes to Delhi. Well, this book changes all that. Gripping, shocking, intoxicating, it captures the rapid change that is turning India upside down, often with alarming consequences. The chapter on the hospital system is truly terrifying and a cautionary tale about greed and corruption for anyone involved in public health. A riveting read.

About the Author

Rana Dasgupta won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book for his debut novel, Solo. He is also the author of the highly praised story collection Tokyo Cancelled. Capital is his first work of non-fiction. Born in England, he now lives in Delhi.



by PowerReviews

(based on 1 review)

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outstanding summary of modern day Delhi


from Sydney, NSW

Verified Buyer


  • Deserves Multiple Readings
  • Informative


    Best Uses

    • Reference

    Comments about Capital:

    this is a good reference book for the progress of modern delhi and its role in modern india. Worthwhile reading for anyone who is interested in the world as it is evolving today and how the future may look

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    'A fascinating, frightening and evocative read.' * Otago Daily Times * 'Rana Dasgupta's Capital is a terrific portrait of Delhi right now.' -- Salman Rushdie 'Elegant prose...this meditative work captures the texture of Delhi's failings and disparities.' * Saturday Age * 'Startling...elegant and vivid writing. Negative and opinionated, he makes his case with clarity. Highly readable.' * Sunday Star Times * `Dasgupta's combination of reportage, political critique and oral history is mordant rather than dyspeptic, sorrowful rather than castigatory. But what makes it more than a local study, what makes it so haunting, is that its textured, tart accounts of the privatisation of public space, of the incestuous relationship between the political and business classes, of the precarity that renders daily life so fraught all apply as much to Britain and the west as they do to the Indian capital.' -- Sukhdev Sandhu * Guardian * `[Dasgupta's] lyrical encounters with a wide range of modern Delhiites reveal a novelist's ear and are beautifully sketched.' * Telegraph * `Capital is a remarkable and exhaustive account of a primordial free-zone whose assets are being stripped by the wealthy...A city which once gave hope to millions after the violence of India's partition in 1947 now only serves the rich.' * Independent * `[An] intense, lyrical, erudite and powerful book...Dasgupta has provided a welcome corrective to the reams of superficial travel writing describing the whimsical, the exotic, the booming or simply the poverty-stricken in India. His is a much more complex, darker story and it is no surprise that his book is peopled by the corrupt, the tragic and the terrified.' -- Jason Burke * Guardian * 'The interviews at the core of the book are a cleverly tangential way to investigate a city that is among the world's largest - about 22m people live in and around Delhi - and has been made a microcosm of India by the hundreds of thousands who arrive each year as migrants.' * Financial Times * `A beautifully written portrait of a corrupt, violent and traumatised city growing so fast it is almost unrecognisable to its own inhabitants. An astonishing tour de force by a major writer at the peak of his powers.' -- William Dalrymple '[Dasgupta has] a gift for sentences of lancing power and beauty.' * New Yorker * `The most unexpected and original Indian writer of his generation.' -- Salman Rushdie

    ISBN: 9781922079312
    ISBN-10: 1922079316
    Audience: General
    Format: Paperback
    Language: English
    Number Of Pages: 480
    Published: 26th March 2014
    Publisher: Text Publishing Co
    Country of Publication: AU
    Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.3  x 3.5
    Weight (kg): 0.64