WRITING STYLE: 4/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4/5
One of the most prestigious publication houses in India, the Aleph Book Company has started a series of short biographies which cover the major cities of India.
Madras, Bombay, Calcutta, Patna and Delhi are the cities which have so far been honoured by this series.
Perpetual City: A Short Biography of Delhi is based on Delhi and is written by Malvika Singh, a lady whose love affair with Delhi just like the title of the book can be very comfortably described as a perpetual one.
The book is divided into two parts – Perpetual City and Changing City.
The first part takes you through the glorious days of Delhi’s past and through what is now left of the glory. It also extensively talks about the Delhi of the early Independence years and the coming of age of new world-class capital.
The second part mulls over the later years and what went wrong with the Delhi of recent years. It deeply reflects on what changed the once glorious and spacious Delhi into the congested, cluttered, polluted and ill-administered city of today.
The author’s writing style vividly speaks about her love for the city and her concern for its now collapsing image.
The description is so lively that it makes you want to take a step back in time and experience the days of the old glory.
The book is short and consists of only 125 pages. It can be easily read in one sitting but I will strongly suggest to those who want to relish and feast on the true essence of the author’s Delhi, to read it slowly and steadily. In that way, they are sure to enjoy the book more.
The topping on the cake is the beautiful cover illustration which very aptly captures the spirit of Delhi.
It also has the advantage of being endorsed by none other than the famous writer-author William Dalrymple. I also liked the way the author ventures into her own personal history with respect to the city.
The commentary on the recent administration and the government which features in the later section of the book is also noteworthy and encourages the readers to crave for and demand for a positive change before it is too late to rescue the city we hold so dearly.
Needless to state, I am deeply impressed and also moved by the book and hence I would recommend Perpetual City as a must read to all Delhi lovers.