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January 24 , 2009


Adventures in a Megacity


A provocative portrait of one of the world's largest cities, delving behind the tourist facade to illustrate the people and places beyond the realms of the conventional travelogue

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Sam Miller set out to discover the real Delhi, a city he describes as "India's dreamtown—and its purgatory." He treads the city streets, making his way through the city and its suburbs, visiting its less celebrated destinations—Nehru Place, Rohini, Ghazipur, and Gurgaon—which most writers and travelers ignore. His quest is the here and now, the unexpected, the overlooked, and the eccentric. All the obvious ports of call make appearances: the ancient monuments, the imperial buildings, and the celebrities of modern Delhi. But it is through his encounters with Delhi's people—from a professor of astrophysics to a crematorium attendant, from ragpickers to members of a police brass band—that Miller creates this richly entertaining portrait of what Delhi means to its residents, and of what the city is becoming.

Miller, like so many of the people he meets, is a migrant in one of the world's fastest growing megapolises, and the Delhi he depicts is one whose future concerns us all. He possesses an intense curiosity; he has an infallible eye for life's diversities, for all the marvelous and sublime moments that illuminate people's lives. This is a generous, original, humorous portrait of a great city; one that unerringly locates the humanity beneath the mundane, the unsung, and the unfamiliar.

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