City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
As the author of the best travel book of recent years at the intensely irritating age of twenty-two, William Dalrymple has now shown that In Xanadu was no fluke. City of Djinns is an entertaining mix of history and diary informed by a deep curiosity about the ways in which the ghosts of even the most distant past still walk in the twentieth century. On one level there are the amusing rites of passage, the struggles with bureaucracy, the eccentricity of author's landlord, all entertainingly related. He has a way of letting you smell and feel the city. There are beautifully chiselled descriptions of a grand capital, but much of the book's strength lies in his skill in peeling the historical onion and showing how (the) New Delhi resonates with the old. A splendid tapestry.