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Delhi [Paperback]

Sam Miller
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity 5.0 out of 5 stars (6)
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Book Description

4 Jun 2009
Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity is an extraordinary portrait of one of the world’s largest cities. Sam Miller sets out to discover the real Delhi, a city he describes as being ‘India’s dreamtown – and its purgatory’. He treads the city streets, making his way through Delhi and its suburbs, visiting its less celebrated destinations. Miller’s quest is the here and now, the unexpected, the ignored and the eccentric. All the obvious ports of call – the ancient monuments, the imperial buildings and the celebrities of modern Delhi – make only passing appearances. Through his encounters with Delhi’s people – from a professor of astrophysics to a crematorium attendant, from ragpickers to members of the Police Brass Band – Miller creates a richly entertaining portrait of what Delhi means to its residents, and of what kind of city it is becoming. Miller is, like so many of the people he meets, a migrant in one of the world’s fastest growing cities – and the modern Delhi he depicts is one whose future concerns us all. Miller possesses an intense curiosity; he has an infallible eye for life’s diversities, for all the marvellous and sublime moments that illuminate people’s lives. This is a generous, original, humorous portrait of a great city; one which unerringly locates the humanity beneath the mundane, the unsung and the unfamiliar.

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (4 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224086103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224086103
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 757,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


`a quirky and affectionate account' --Times Literary Supplement

"teems with strange stories and bizarre quiddities, rich discoveries and unexpected diversions --The Scotsman


A thoroughly entertaining book – even down to the countless footnotes – about a fascinating city - Financial Times, Rahul Jacob

[a] dizzying, droll travelogue…Miller’s multitudinous city snapshots elucidates the paradoxes of globalisation without judgement, and his tales of urban wandering form a valuable archive of a rapidly transforming city. Miller’s forays into city slums are poignant, humanising evocations of Delhi’s underside - The Guardian, Hirsh Sawnhey

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its my hometown 23 July 2010
By Sontee
I was born in Delhi and lived there for 26 years of my life. Growing up in the city that seemed to be full of village idiots more than city-fools was challenging. And on top of that being a female made it worse. You couldn't cross a street without having cat-calls and if you took public transport, it meant getting felt up by smelly pervs. I have next to no fond memories of being / walking around in Delhi. It was always a chore an errand. Both my parents were born and brought up in Delhi, they love the city. I hated it.

As I read through this book, it was as if brought right back in front of me in all its glory minus the cat calls. This book helped dig up some buried happy memories of my own city and did so in a very honest and vivid way. I love this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read it while in Delhi 14 Feb 2010
I bought this book as a read when flying to Delhi on business with a few days to spare and read it there while visiting many of the places described. This is an excellent, entertaining and at times very funny book, which captured my experiences over the week I was in the city. Delhi is a great fascinating city and this book helps inspire you to explore, understand and get to like the place. A good easy travel read.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Affectionate, offbeat travelogue 3 July 2009
Delhi, a "megacity" of 15 million plus people, with historical ruins to rival Istanbul, Cairo and Rome alongside modern tower blocks, is going through rapid change. Millar has lived in Delhi as a BBC correspondent, yet he wanders through the city more like a backpacker than a "Delhiwalla", taking a strange spiral route which makes it difficult for the reader to follow. I kept having to refer to his hand-drawn maps and even then I was confused.

To be fair, Miller is not just doing the well-trodden tourist routes. He tackles many of the backstreets and end-of-Metro outposts, unearthing genuine surprises (such as the Delhi slaughterhouse) and providing entertaining anecdotes on the way. Yet for all his sympathy and affection for the place, he somehow fails to connect with Delhi people. He comes across various officials, vendors, street urchins and other individuals who are simply puzzled at the intentions and questions of this (to me) rather sad and lonely foreigner. In Gurgaon, the gleaming new Delhi suburb, he laments that nothing happens to him and there is no one to speak to, yet he shelters from a rainstorm in a security guard's hut "in the invigorating company of a garrulous Japanese businessman and a flirtatious teenage Gurgaon college student". What do they think of life in Gurgaon? We never get to know.

Miller has written a city travel book for the internet age jumping from scene to scene as if wandering from link to link, occasionally returning to homepage before resuming his journey. He resorts to google for snippets of information (whether or not it has to do with Delhi or even India) and google maps for close ups of streets or buildings.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent read, 4 Aug 2009
Having visited Delhi I wanted to find out more about the city. This book certainly ticks all the box's. Informative, funny, and written in a style that makes you want to read on. It's not just a travel journal, it's a life story as well. Full of little anecdotes and information about things that other travel journals don't cover like the item about the employees of a bankrupt company that still go to the derelict office 5 years after the company ceased trading. And what a great way to see the city, spiral out from the centre, marvelous. I will be back in Delhi in September and the book will be with me. Thourghly recomended 5 stars.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delhi delights 21 Jun 2009
Delhi is a difficult city to live in - but Sam Miller has taken it at face value, delighted in the remnants of its history which pop up in the most unlikely places, and has written a wise, affectionate, idiosyncratic and hugely engaging account of one of the world's biggest capitals. I really enjoyed it.
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