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The age of Kali: Travels and Encounters in India Paperback – 21 Jun 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; New Ed edition (21 Jun. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006547753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006547754
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon Review

William Dalrymple has proved himself to be one of the most perceptive and enjoyable travel writers of the 1990s. His first book In Xanadu became an instant back-packer's classic, winning a stream of literary prizes. City of Djinns and From the Holy Mountain soon followed, to universal critical praise. Yet it is to India where Dalrymple continues to return in his travels, and his fourth book The Age of Kali is his most reflective book to date.

The result of 10 year's living and travelling throughout the Indian subcontinent, The Age of Kali emerges from Dalrymple's uneasy sense that the region is slipping into the most fearsome of all epochs in ancient Hindu cosmology: "the Kali Yug, the Age of Kali, the lowest possible throw, an epoch of strife, corruption, darkness and disintegration". The brilliance of this book lies in its refusal to slip into the cultural pessimism of books such as V.S. Naipaul's Beyond Belief. Dalrymple's love for the subcontinent, and his feel for its diverse cultural identity, comes across in every page, which makes its chronicles of political corruption, ethnic violence and social disintegration all the more poignant. The scope of the book is particularly impressive, from the vivid opening chapters portraying the lawless caste violence of Bihar, to interviews with the drug barons on the North-West Frontier, and Dalrymple's extraordinary encounter with the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. Some of the most fascinating sections of the book are Dalrymple's interviews with Imran Khan and Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, which read like non-fictional companion pieces to Salman Rushdie's bitterly satirical Shame. The Age of Kali is a dark, disturbing book which takes the pulse of a continent facing some tough questions. --Jerry Brotton

Review

‘Dalrymple is probably the best travel writer of his generation’ Daily Mail

‘The future of travel writing lies in the hands of gifted authors like Dalrymple’ Sara Wheeler, Independent

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