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City of Djinns
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About the Author

William Dalrymple was born in Scotland and brought up on the shores of the Firth of Forth. He wrote the highly acclaimed bestseller In Xanadu when he was twenty-two. The book won the 1990 Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award and a Scottish Arts Council Spring Book Award; it was also shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize. In 1989 Dalrymple moved to Delhi where he lived for six years researching his second book, City of Djinns, which won the 1994 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award. From the Holy Mountain, his acclaimed study of the demise of Christianity in its Middle Eastern homeland, was awarded the Scottish Arts Council Autumn Book Award for 1997; it was also shortlisted for the 1998 Thomas Cook Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize. A collection of his writings about India, The Age of Kali, was published in 1998.

William Dalrymple is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Asiatic Society, and in 2002 was awarded the Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for his 'outstanding contribution to travel literature'. He wrote and presented the British television series Stones of the Raj and Indian Journeys, which won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series at BAFTA in 2002. His Radio 4 series on the history of British spirituality and mysticism, The Long Search, recent won the 2002 Sandford St Martin Prize for Religious Broadcasting and was described by the judges as 'thrilling in its brilliance... near perfect radio.'He is married to the artist Olivia Fraser, and they have three children. They now divide their time between London and Delhi.

Reviews

Delhi has a richly layered past, and Dalrymple (In Xanadu, McKay, 1990) deftly peels away each layer to reveal how the city came to be what it is today. Djinns are spirits said to be seen only after prolonged fasting and prayer; they too are integral to understanding the city. The author, a young Scot carrying on the fine British tradition of travel writing, has a knack for meeting fascinating people and capturing their most revealing remarks. He introduces us to dervishes, eunuchs, partridge fighting, weddings, and expatriates. His wife contributes sketches that nicely complement his text. Considering the importance of Delhi, the capital of the world's second most populous nation, this book deserves to be in most public and academic libraries.-Harold M. Otness, Southern Oregon State Coll. Lib., Ashland

Delhi is a city alive with legends and history for British journalist Dalrymple. In this engaging, colorful record of one year spent in India's capital (which won him the 1994 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award), past and present intersect as he tours bazaars, crumbling palaces and imperial buildings designed by English colonialist architect Sir Edwin Lutyens; attends a Sikh mourning ceremony following a cremation; and meets mystics, nouveaux-riches Punjabis, poets and eunuchs descended from servants of sultans. Stories of djinns-mischievous spirits who presumably watched over Delhi through successive invasions-intertwine with the intrigues of Mughal emperors, the adventures of 14th-century Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta, who was appointed a judge and ambassador in Delhi and snippets of the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata. Dalrymple has a keen eye for the ethnic and religious tensions of a city where high-rises, shopping plazas and satellite dishes are crowding out bungalows and temples. Illustrated. (Dec.)

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