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Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity Hardcover – July 20, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Miller offers a flâneur's account of Delhi-"India's dreamland-and its purgatory" as he strolls through slums and gated communities, humble neighborhood parks and historic tombs. A longtime BBC correspondent based in Delhi, Miller understands and deftly conveys India's contradictions and makes cultural commentary with an insider's confidence. Even if there is a strain of smugness-Miller seems to enjoy feeling slightly superior to more unseasoned foreigners and middle-class Delhites who don't share his interest in walking around the city-it's fleeting; he is so likeable and so willing to confront the city on its own terms. He visits porn theaters, visits cult members, falls into manholes. He shifts easily from the comic to the serious, to the darker details of Delhi life-the water shortages, violence, disease, and staggering income disparity-helped by a picaresque narrative complete with chapter headings ("Chapter One: In which the Author is dazzled by the Metro, finds a cure for hemorrhoids, and turns the tables on a an unscrupulous shoeshine man"). A cityscape suffused with wisdom, chance, and delight.

Review

*Named a Best Travel Book of the Year by The Guardian (UK)*

“Sam Miller has created a book that is both a quest and a love letter, and one which is as pleasingly eccentric and anarchic as its subject.” —William Dalrymple, author of City of Djinns, in his “Books of the Year” for the New Statesman (UK)

“As a modern-day flaneur, Miller makes laser-sharp observations of the city’s architecture and inhabitants, talking to everyone from university professors to ragpickers.” —Lonely Planet Magazine

“A walking encyclopedia on contemporary Delhi.” —India Today

“[Delhi is] a revelation. . . . The liveliest of city travelogues.” —Literary Review (UK)

“Miller’s talent is dizzying and his narrative a rich accomplishment. I walked miles in Delhi—without moving an inch.” —The Times (UK)

“A thoroughly entertaining book . . . about a fascinating city.” —Financial Times (UK)

“[An] erudite, comical portrait of a city. . . . An entertaining and thoughtful book.” —Evening Standard (UK)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (July 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780312612375
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312612375
  • ASIN: 0312612370
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,112,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Vijay K. Gurbani on June 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Miller likes India, no he really likes India. He lives in Delhi, is married to an Indian and possesses the PIO (Person of Indian Origin) card --- a US Green Card equivalent --- even though he is, clearly, not of Indian origin. This book appears to be a labor of love for his adopted city, Delhi. While it is easy to compare this book to the inimitable City of Djinns by William Dalrymple, it would be doing Mr. Miller a disservice. His approach is different than Mr. Dalrymple's and consists of walking in a spiral through Delhi in 13 chapters; each chapter discusses his travails during that particular spiral. (He settles on a spiral as the best geometric figure to use while discovering a new city, although I had to wonder why he laboured so much to arrive at that conclusion. Cities such as Paris have their arrondissements arranged in a spiral pattern since at least 1860, with the center of the spiral being the center of the city and each outward curl of the spiral moves you away from the center, and therefore, away from the city.) In any case, each of the 13 chapters is well written and memorable. The city wreaks havoc on Mr. Miller: he appears to be spat on, defecated on, chased by killer pigs, about to be killed by butchers, and on more than one occasion, he trips on the uneven pavement and pops his knee. But these minor irritants are more than made up for by being dazzled by the Delhi Metro, being the object of flirtatious advances, learning the meaning of choledocholithotomy, and rediscovering Tintin. In the end, it all balances out in the great Indian heartland. I had fun reading the book. It shows Delhi alternatively as an old regal city and as a sore and ever-expanding chasm of humanity. But there is no doubt that Mr. Miller identifies strongly with Delhi and his love for the city shows through in the writing. (May 2011).
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Format: Hardcover
Most books describing Delhi, which I have read, dwell on its past or its present problems or solutions, but none describe Delhi as a living city and what it is now (that generalization could made for most books for most cities).
This unique travelogue gives a different insight into a city with myriad cultures, issues, successes, failures without being preachy or judgmental. Therein lies its true value where the reader can ascertain and enjoy the spirals which the author undertakes and form ones own opinions.
I have had the opportunity to walk with Sam in the Siri Fort area (described in the tenth intermission). I have been jogging regularly in the area for the past 5 years and occasionally for the past 15, and never noticed some of the the unique features, unique structures and signs which I did after walking 40 minutes with him.
Highly recommend the book, and a must read for people visiting India as it gives a snapshot perspective of the unique, diverse yet a vibrant democracy that is India with its own set of unique problems and solutions.
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Format: Hardcover
This was one of the most entertaining and interesting books I've read this year. I love traveling but have never been to India. This book, giving a literal cross-section of life in Delhi (actually a spiral view, as you'll learn when you read the book), has made it much more likely that I'll visit the megacity sooner rather than later. Miller's combination of hope, cynicism, and a flâneur's openness to random discoveries of the wonder (and sometimes the horror) of human existence kept me reading through the book almost without a break...a rarity for me. Unlike a previous reviewer here on Amazon, I wasn't bothered at all by the footnotes, but rather found them to be a fun and informative addition to the whole; and the many photos, spread throughout the book, were another aspect that set this book apart from the standard travel narrative. Now I'm trying to decide which friends on my holiday shopping list should receive this book...anyone with an interest in India, or travel, or the 21st-century city, should really enjoy it. Here's hoping that Miller will spiral through another great city someday and bring it to life for us.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author takes you at ground view level on a walking tour of Delhi, spiraling out over the course of a year from the heart of the old city to the newest suburbs. There are back street histories of things you'd never otherwise learn about one of the world's most fascinating cities. I love Delhi but I'd never have the stamina to do this tour so I really appreciate the wit and insight Sam Miller brings to it.
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Format: Hardcover
I have visited Delhi a few times as a tourist, just passing through on my way to other places but this book really helped introduce me to a much wider view of the city that I was totally unaware of.
The book was funny, thoughtful and full of insights and was entertaining and absorbing from start to finish. The photos are great as well.
I too love exploring cities on foot and think anyone who has enjoyed wandering around a city will enjoy this book, as will anyone who has been to Delhi and wants to understand it better.
By the way I thought the footnotes were great!
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a surprisingly good book. It is not long, and the manner in which the book has been written makes it a pleasure to read. I like the tool of using "intermissions" between chapters, and this makes it refreshing.

There is a lot of good information about Delhi, and about some more stuff as well. I figured that I know Delhi well, and I do, but there were enough surprises that were thrown up from time to time.

Sam evidently does have a feel for Delhi, and a lot of "positive energy" towards the city. This comes through very clearly, and it shows even when he writes about the not so savory parts of the city.

A good read indeed!
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