Two Years in the City

Book - 2013
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The award-winning author Amit Chaudhuri has been widely praised for the beauty and subtle power of his writing and for the ways in which he makes "place" as complex a character as his men and women. Now he brings these gifts to a spellbinding amalgam of memoir, reportage, and history in this intimate, luminous portrait of Calcutta.

Chaudhuri guides us through the city where he was born, the home he loved as a child, the setting of his acclaimed novels--a place he now finds captivating for all the ways it has, and, perhaps more powerfully, has not, changed. He shows us a city relatively untouched by the currents of globalization but possessed of a "self-renewing way of seeing, of inhabiting space, of apprehending life." He takes us along vibrant avenues and derelict alleyways; introduces us to intellectuals, Marxists, members of the declining haute bourgeoisie, street vendors, domestic workers; brings to life the city's sounds and smells, its architecture, its traditional shops and restaurants, new malls and hotels. And, using the historic elections of 2011 as a fulcrum, Chaudhuri looks back to the nineteenth century, when the city burst with a new vitality, and toward the politics of the present, finding a city "still not recovered from history" yet possessed of a singular modernity.
Chaudhuri observes and writes about Calcutta with rare candor and clarity, making graspable the complex, ultimately ineluctable reasons for his passionate attachment to the place and its people. 

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, [2013]
Edition: First American edition.
ISBN: 9780307270245
Branch Call Number: 915.414 CHA
Characteristics: 306 pages ; 22 cm


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ChristchurchLib Dec 09, 2013

"Though he grew up in Bombay and lives in England, award-winning author Amit Chaudhuri was born in Calcutta, a place to which he continues to feel connected. In this literary portrait of the British colonial capital of India, he evocatively depicts Calcutta's changing culture, diverse social classes (he spends time with everyone from the homeless to the bourgeois), and evolving politics (including the historic 2011 election) while also exploring the idea that "home and elsewhere" are "enmeshed intimately." Combining reportage with memoir and history, this eye-opening look at one of India's biggest cities might interest readers of Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers.". Armchair Travel December 2013 newsletter

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