Capital

Capital

The Eruption of Delhi

Format
Hardcover
Price
$28.95
 
Additional Formats
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781594204470
  • 480  Pages
  • Penguin Press
  • Adult

Overview

In Capital, Commonwealth Prize–winning author Rana Dasgupta examines one of the great trends of our time: the expansion of the global elite.  Capital is an intimate portrait of the city of Delhi which bears witness to the extraordinary transmogrification of India’s capital. But it also offers a glimpse of what capitalism will become in the coming, post-Western world. The story of Delhi is a parable for where we are all headed.
 
The boom following the opening up of India’s economy plunged Delhi into a tumult of destruction and creation: slums and markets were ripped down, and shopping malls and apartment blocks erupted from the ruins.  Many fortunes were made, and in the glassy stores nestled among the new highways, customers paid for global luxury with bags of cash.  But the transformation was stern, abrupt and fantastically unequal, and it gave rise to strange and bewildering feelings.  The city brimmed with ambition and rage. Violent crimes stole the headlines.
 
In the style of V. S. Naipaul’s now classic personal journeys, Dasgupta shows us this city through the eyes of its people. With the lyricism and empathy of a novelist, Dasgupta takes us through a series of encounters – with billionaires and bureaucrats, drug dealers and metal traders, slum dwellers and psychoanalysts – which plunge us into Delhi’s intoxicating, and sometimes terrifying, story of capitalist transformation.  Together these people comprise a generation on the cusp, like that of Gilded Age New York: who they are, and what they want, says a tremendous amount about what the world will look like in the rest of the twenty-first century.
 
Interweaving over a century of history with his personal journey, Dasgupta presents us with the first literary portrait of one of the twenty-first century’s fastest-growing megalopolises – a dark and uncanny portrait that gives us insights, too, as to the nature of our own – everyone’s – shared, global future.  

Praise

The New Yorker:
“[An] unsparing portrait of moneyed Delhi, no telling detail seems to escape Dasgupta’s notice. His novelistic talents are matched by his skill at eliciting astonishing candor from his subjects. The best passages are incisive summaries of the human and environmental costs of the elite’s wealth and privilege and his persuasive predictions of crises yet to come. Dasgupta constantly seeks to upend conventional wisdom about Delhi, the murky circulation of its money, and the roots of its periodic outbursts of violence, making this one of the most worthwhile in a strong field of recent books about India’s free-market revolution and its unintended consequences.”

Library Journal (starred): 
“A grim picture of a city run by oligarchs and the ‘new black-money elite,’ where success depends on ‘influence, assets, and connections.’ This book is highly recommended for anyone looking for background information on Delhi…The author’s account of the downside of the post-1991 free market economy and the pursuit of self-interest above all serves as a cautionary tale, doing for Delhi what Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City accomplished for Mumbai.”

Kirkus Reviews:
“A sincere, troubling look at India’s wrenching social and cultural changes.”

The Guardian (UK):
“A vivid and haunting account…Dasgupta’s combination of reportage, political critique and oral history is mordant rather than dyspeptic, sorrowful rather than castigatory. But what makes it more than a local study, what makes it so haunting, is that its textured, tart accounts of the privatisation of public space, of the incestuous relationship between the political and business classes, of the precarity that renders daily life so fraught all apply as much to Britain and the west as they do to the Indian capital.” 

The Times (UK):
“In his portrait of this hubris and its aftermath, Rana Dasgupta peels back the layers of denial with insight, humanity and, at times, exquisitely beautiful writing. He exposes some festering wounds but succeeds in fascinating rather than repelling… [Dasgupta] brings insights that flow from compassion and understanding along with access to the clique nexus of politics and money.”

The Observer (UK):
“Intense, lyrical, erudite, and powerful.”

Financial Times:
“[Dasgupta] mostly lets his subjects speak for themselves…The interviews at the core of the book are a cleverly tangential way to investigate a city that is among the world’s largest—about 22m people live in and around Delhi—and has been made a microcosm of India by the hundreds of thousands who arrive each year as migrants. As we read of Delhi’s frantic modernisation—from, among others, an outsourcing entrepreneur, a gay fashion designer, a property speculator, assorted tycoons and the victims of medical scams that extract cash from the relatives of the dying—we trace Dasgupta’s personal journey from excited arrival in 2000 to disillusionment.”

The Independent (UK):
Capital sets a scholarly and sympathetic tone…[Dasgupta’s] subjects are as varied as the city’s upper and lower classes, men and women, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims; property magnates, money launderers, technology entrepreneurs and activists working to uplift Delhi’s slum areas…A remarkable and exhaustive account of a primordial free-zone whose assets are being stripped by the wealthy.”

The Telegraph (UK):
“Compelling, often terrifying…[Dasgupta’s] lyrical encounters with a wide range of modern Delhiites reveal a novelist’s ear and are beautifully sketched.”

The International New York Times:
“Lyrical and haunting.”

The Spectator:
Capital is constructed around a series of mesmerising interviews . . . Among many lively episodes in Dasgupta’s appropriately large, sprawling and populous book is one describing the experience of driving in Delhi.”

South China Morning Post (Hong Kong):
“[Dasgupta] shows observational acuity worthy of Don DeLillo… [An] edgy, visionary masterpiece.”

William Dalrymple, author of City of Djinns:
Capital is a beautifully written study of a corrupt, violent and traumatized city growing so fast it is almost unrecognizable to its own inhabitants.  An astonishing tour de force by a major writer at the peak of his powers, it will do for Delhi what Suketu Mehta so memorably did for Bombay with Maximum City.”

Praise for Rana Dasgupta’s Solo:

Salman Rushdie:

“Rana Dasgupta [is] the most unexpected and original Indian writer of his generation”

James Wood, The New Yorker:
“[Dasgupta is] graced with an ironic eye and a gift for sentences of lancing power and beauty.”

Extras

Author Website
Book Website
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