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A masterful and entirely fresh portrait of great hopes and dashed dreams in a mythical city from a major new literary voice Everything that could possibly be wrong with a city was wrong with Calcutta. When Kushanava Choudhury arrived in New Jersey at the age of twelve, he had already migrated halfway around the world four times. After graduating from Princeton, he moved back to the world which his immigrant parents had abandoned, to a city built between a river and a swamp, where the moisture-drenched air swarms with mosquitos after sundown. Once the capital of the British Raj, and then India's industrial and cultural hub, by 2001 Calcutta was clearly past its prime. Why, his relatives beseeched him, had he returned? Surely, he could have moved to Delhi, Bombay or Bangalore, where a new Golden Age of consumption was being born. Yet fifteen million people still lived in Calcutta. Working for the Statesman, its leading English newspaper, Kushanava Choudhury found the streets of his childhood unchanged by time. Shouting hawkers still overran the footpaths, fish-sellers squatted on bazaar floors; politics still meant barricades and bus burnings, while Communist ministers travelled in motorcades. Sifting through the chaos for the stories that never make the papers, Kushanava Choudhury paints a soulful, compelling portrait of the everyday lives that make Calcutta. Written with humanity, wit and insight, The Epic City is an unforgettable portrait of an era, and a city which is a world unto itself.
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A masterful and entirely fresh portrait of great hopes and dashed dreams in a mythical city from a major new literary voice

About the Author

Kushanava Choudhury grew up in Calcutta and New Jersey. After graduating from Princeton University he worked as a reporter at the Statesman in Calcutta. He went on to receive a PhD in Political Theory from Yale University before returning to Calcutta to write a book about the city. The Epic City is his first book.

Reviews

Like all good epics, Choudhury's heartfelt and well-observed portrait of the city of his birth promises to stand the test of time * Oliver Balch, Literary Review * A beautifully observed and even more beautifully written new study of Calcutta. In its author, Kushanava Choudhury, we clearly have an important new talent -- William Dalrymple * Guardian, Summer Reading * Beautifully observed and even more beautifully written, The Epic City marks the arrival of a major new talent -- William Dalrymple A wonderful, beautifully written and even more beautifully observed love letter to Calcutta's greatness ... The Epic City clearly marks the arrival of a new star. Witty, polished, honest and insightful -- William Dalrymple * Observer * A moving meditation on memory * Financial Times * I loved The Epic City by Kushanava Choudhury, a beautifully written and even more beautifully observed love letter to Calcutta's greatness: to its high culture, its music and film, its festivals, its people, its cuisine, its urban rhythms and above all to its rooted Bengaliness -- William Dalrymple * `Books of the Year', Spectator *

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