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DHARAVI : THE CITY WITHIN Paperback – 13 Aug 2015

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. (13 Aug. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9350293994
  • ISBN-13: 978-9350293997
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.1 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,216,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Joseph Campana lived in Mumbai from 2007 to 2011. He taught feature writing and literary journalism at the Xavier Institute of Communications and literature at the American School of Bombay. His writing has appeared in the Indian Express and Time Out Mumbai. He currently lives in Missoula, Montana, with his wife, Jillian, and daughter, Estelle.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dharavi is an area within the Indian city of Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Some people call it a slum and others a place filled with opportunity. Editor Joseph Campana has assembled a group of Indian and foreign writers who work to describe this place. Campana opens with an introduction that pulled me into his book. His descriptions and capsule summaries of Dharavi prepared me for what followed. He divided the book into four parts: Arrival, Work and Money, The Daily Grind and Timepass, and Fixing Dharavi. Each part begins with a short description by Campana – these helped to give the work cohesion and flow.

While the boundaries of the four parts are not firm, they gave me a feel for Dharavi that I otherwise would have missed. The first section, Arrival, both brings the reader into Dharavi and begins to paint a picture of some of the half million plus who have come to live and work in this two square kilometers of former marshland.

The second part, Work and Money, tells us about some of the economy of the area – both a bit of the dark side and of the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives despite a shortage of such basics as water and electricity. We are reminded that we could well be wearing something such as a belt buckle cast and polished in Dharavi.

The third part, The Daily Grind and Timepass, added a new word to my vocabulary: “timepass”. It shows the reader another facet of this rough diamond and leads us to the fourth part. The fourth section, Fixing Dharavi, is a final gem. What makes it so interesting is how Campana and his stable of writers tell us about the possible futures of the land. The property where Dharavi stands has gone from being worthless to some of the most valuable real estate in Mumbai.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Read About a Little Known Piece of India 2 Mar. 2014
By JonDS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dharavi is an area within the Indian city of Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Some people call it a slum and others a place filled with opportunity. Editor Joseph Campana has assembled a group of Indian and foreign writers who work to describe this place. Campana opens with an introduction that pulled me into his book. His descriptions and capsule summaries of Dharavi prepared me for what followed. He divided the book into four parts: Arrival, Work and Money, The Daily Grind and Timepass, and Fixing Dharavi. Each part begins with a short description by Campana – these helped to give the work cohesion and flow.

While the boundaries of the four parts are not firm, they gave me a feel for Dharavi that I otherwise would have missed. The first section, Arrival, both brings the reader into Dharavi and begins to paint a picture of some of the half million plus who have come to live and work in this two square kilometers of former marshland.

The second part, Work and Money, tells us about some of the economy of the area – both a bit of the dark side and of the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives despite a shortage of such basics as water and electricity. We are reminded that we could well be wearing something such as a belt buckle cast and polished in Dharavi.

The third part, The Daily Grind and Timepass, added a new word to my vocabulary: “timepass”. It shows the reader another facet of this rough diamond and leads us to the fourth part. The fourth section, Fixing Dharavi, is a final gem. What makes it so interesting is how Campana and his stable of writers tell us about the possible futures of the land. The property where Dharavi stands has gone from being worthless to some of the most valuable real estate in Mumbai. Developers salivate over the possibilities and we learn of what may come – both good and bad.

In sum, I can highly recommend this book. Armchair travelers will love it for the picture it paints of an exotic place. Students of other places and cultures will likely treasure this book for the comprehensive portrait of a complex place in a country that is both a cradle of humanity and a hope for the world’s future. It is exactly the kind of book that can be just the right assigned reading in an anthropology, sociology or psychology course. Just plain readers like me will enjoy it for the fascinating story it weaves. Usually I try to ration my books as I live at the end of a costly supply chain but, I couldn’t do so in this instance – it was just too entertaining and interesting a read to put down!

I bought this book through Amazon. I hope they get more copies as I'd wanted to give one as a gift.
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