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City of Djinns has ratings and reviews. Warwick said: Delhi is lucky to have William Dalrymple as a chronicler – not many cities get such exemp. Sparkling with irrepressible wit, City of Djinns peels back the layers of Delhi’s centuries-old history, revealing an extraordinary array of characters. May 27, Author: William Dalrymple Pages: Published in the year: Publishers: Penguin Genre: Non-fiction/ Memoir For Dalrymple, who has.

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It’s just exceedingly strange that the ancient excerpts his text so often depends on are so often so exceedingly tedious. I never felt for one second that they were any different from my parents, or that we were two separate families instead of one whole willima.

Perhaps Dalrymple’s youth at the time he wrote this book he was barely 25 and his vjinns British culture and prejudices kept him from from going deeper and finding the little bits that would have made the people he describes more three dimensional.

One feels like visiting the places and monuments mentioned and see them afresh in new light. In the streets hijras are jeered at and sometimes pelted with rubbish. But having come this far, D could not stop. Under the guise of describing a year in Delhi, Dalrymple also goes back into the history of Delhi, ranging from even before the days of the MahabharataIndia’s djinnns national epic which is about as old as Homer’s Iliad and Odysseyall the way to the present day.

City of Djinns – Wikipedia

Dalrymple had visited Delhi when he was all of seventeen and was instantly under its spell. A dedicated effort to research and sketch the portrait of a city disjointed in time, a city which has managed to preserve many varied centuries, frozen in time, at different areas.

It reads as a mixture of memoir, travelogue, history, religion, and myth book. The haveli was a world within a world, self-contained and totally hidden from the view of the casual passer-by. In the Old City men set up small roadside stalls around big earthenware pots containing ‘jal jeera’, a dark, spicy, green liquid which burns the mouth but cools the body How could a history of Delhi be complete without talking of Mahabharata??

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While meandering around the streets of Delhi, WD meets some interesting multitude like the eunuchs, dalrymplw masters of the pigeon fights, the leftover Britishers and their families, now willixm Anglo Indians, djinn survivors of partition like his landlady and the driver.

He takes us, in an affable style, through the sprawling city and introduces us to the frugal Punjabi people who now make up the majority of the population, dalrtmple well as to the remnants of the old colonialists, and then to the fascinating ways of people of the underbelly–the sad, diinns lives of contemporary eunuchs, the tenacity of the squatters, and the timeless world of the many religions that have quietly coexisted for centuries in the chaotic warrens of the indestructible city.

Ahmed Ali tragically spews venom citg partition and Pakistan. The book showcases and plots the life of the city of Delhi over the ages; its origins and its collapse, its resurgence and its history is all laid bare for us to peer into. If we extend this and add the next great disaster, modern Delhi would appear to take shape, even though D does this in reverse, it is easy for the reader to do the mental jugglery.

The Summing Up: City Of Djinns

We get to meet Dr Jaffrey who serves as an expert on Purani Dilli, the Haxby sisters who tell us about the unfortunate Anglo Indians, and a visit to an Office of the Railways Board reveals a tykhana built for William Fraser.

View all 7 comments. Just as Olivia his wife upon arrival of morning chai as a gesture from Mrs Puri their landlord said, “I wish she had sent it up two hours later”. With little possibility of much fulfilment in this world, they look salrymple the next; they are forever visiting temples and mosques Media reporter, reviewer, producer, guest booker, blogger. Even though few in number these illustrations are certainly charming. It was the willjam and welcoming read for anybody knocking at the door.


A journey into the past. This book changed my perspective and literally made me fall in love with cuty city all over again.

The Peace of Delhi is gone. At other times, he prefers letting his ironic narration do the talking. This is why the historical, architectural and archeological approach was inevitable.

City of Djinns

Brightly coloured coats, shirts and trousers should be tailored to a tight fit; and elaborately decorated scarf should encircle his waist and hold a dagger But of course the unbiased descriptions of incidents and actual research had made this book very addictive and once you start then you also feel the same way as author darymple.

William is married to the artist Olivia Fraser, and they have three children. The language is top notch, albeit a tad bit too formal at times. Trivia About City of Djinns: One thing that I loved about this book is how Dalrymple interspersed the story with his daily life experiences.

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

The maps and monuments she draws falrymple really pretty, though much of the sketches have a distinct exotic, western gaze – man smoking hookah, an old cobbler, qawwali singers, a eunuch and so one. Perhaps Dalrymple’s youth at the time he wrote this book he was barely 25 and his own Bri I wish there had dalrhmple more Delhi and less history. Its status as a lingua franca means that the fluency of some users is not high, and many of the ensuing idiosyncrasies, along with influences from Indian languages, have made their way into the standard idiom.

As he sifts, we discover that in the everyday structures lies dormant splendid stories and great figures. People became tired and listless.