Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Abdul's Taxi to Kalighat - A celebration of Calcutta Hardcover – 17 Jan 2000


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£100.00 £0.01


Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (17 Jan 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861971923
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861971920
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,048,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Where's Kalighat? In Calcutta, it's home to a temple for the much-worshipped Indian goddess Kali. A fearful sight, she's a "black-skinned woman with blazing eyes" and blood dripping from her protruding tongue. Devotees give offerings to encourage her to scare away demons. As a symbol, Kali is representative of the bustling city of Calcutta in all its vibrancy and extremity, a city which Joe Roberts vividly evokes in this sensitive travel book.

Joe, wife Emma and baby son Llewelyn moved to Calcutta for five months to experience its rich intensity. What they found was a city that "despite its poverty and overcrowding" is "grand, battered and soulful". Roberts's book tells the story of their stay, of the history, art and culture of the place as well as the idiosyncrasies of the various characters they meet. A post-colonialist languor tinges the world in which they move.

Roberts, who also wrote about India in Three Quarters Of A Footprint, pulls no punches, describing the upsetting poverty that exists in this melting pot--a point of view counterbalanced by Llewelyn, who doesn't view Calcutta with western eyes and values. Punctuating the book are the Roberts family's trips around the city driven by Abdul, a friendly taxi driver. He helps them distinguish his Calcutta from the one that's the target of so many western negative judgements, and after reading this perceptive work you may be able to distinguish it too. --Anna Hornsey

Review

"Roberts is a fine writer and his portrait of the city is recommended reading.." -- Time Out, March 8, 2000

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Feb 2000
Format: Hardcover
As someone who has never been there, this book conveyed to me the smells, the sounds, the sheer scale of this great city, as well as something of its social composition and history (and food too for those who are interested). The language and style is eminently readable, the pace sustained - neither hurried not languid. A good read for an armchair traveller.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
Abdul's Taxi To Kalighat is one of the best books I have read on this multi-dimensional and split-personalited city. Joe Roberts, through his wonderful prose where humour, empathy and perception blend to delight the reader, draws marvellous pen-pictures of his perception of a much applauded and a much-maligned reality in India made famous by the British Raj and Mother Teresa.
Roberts looks beyond the grime and poverty of Calcutta. His sharp eyes and an incisive mind explore the subtle nuances of the city, whether it is through its people or its past history. Both fascinate Roberts in large measure and he is unapologetic about the city's innate vitality and character that is often viewed by foreigners as sad and lonely.
Joe Roberts' Calcutta has many layers. Much of the city's magic enchants him through the various people he and his family meet and make friends with. He is open to experiences, not all of them positive, but he is pragmatic about his views that are candid and look at the positive side of Calcutta.
I hope this book will be read by everyone who wants to visit this city or know more about such a volatile destination. I am sure Abdul's Taxi will give him a comfortable ride - without frills, without the patronising smirk of Western travellers - but the way the city really is: full of talkative and delightful citizens, redolent with memories of the past and quite, quite beautiful beaneath its carapice of poverty and crowds and grime!
Abdul's Taxi To Kalighat is the best tribute a Westerner could have paid to Calcutta and it is certainly one of the most exciting tomes on the city I have read in the last decade.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
Abdul's Taxi to Kalighat has touched a wonderful chord in the hearts of all those who love Calcutta. Joe Roberts is honest and open about his reaction to the city, and his sensitive handling of the subject is heartfelt. I specially enjoyed his meticulous but unobtrusive research on the finer points of Bengali culture like music and cuisine. He has a sharp eye for detail and the characters he meets are invested with affection and wry humor. Not once does there creep in a feeling of superiority or condesention. He makes it clear in the Forword that his book is not a history of Calcutta. It is merely his personal reaction to the places and people he visits and meets along with his family. I strongly recommend the book to all readers wanting to visit Calcutta. Roberts has portrayed it with clarity of vision and not swept the grime and dirt under the nearest carpet. He has, thankfully, looked beyond. And, I am delighted that he has found the heart of the city that is kind and compassionate and full of fun and foibles. Thank you for writing a wonderful book about my city, Mr. Roberts!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By A Customer on 24 Feb 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is the first Joe Roberts book I have read and it was a thoroughly enjoyable & informative read. Although I have been to India many times I've never been to Calcutta. This book gets under the surface of Calcutta & captures Calcutta life from a Western perspective. His strangely different observations and manner of writing stand closer examination. They illustrate a world unnoticed by Western eyes. I can really recommend this book to anyone who is travelling to India and who is interested in the way of Indian architecture, food & culture.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Feb 2000
Format: Hardcover
I live in calcutta...I am bengali and this book does little credit to both...probably it was not meant to do any ... Hope other enjoy it because I did not.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again


Feedback