Calcutta: Two years in the city
Union Books, £8.99 pb, 307 pp, 9781908526175
There is currently a very appealing trend in publishing with books about cities written by creative writers: fiction writers, novelists, and essayists. In Australia we have had the Cities Series from NewSouth Publishing: personal, writerly books that capture the spirit of our capital cities (and Alice Springs) and take us along pathways, with the idiosyncratic accompaniment of a local who is also a writer.
In recent years there have also been books of this type on Indian cities, including Mumbai and Delhi. This fascinating genre can carry along with it many different aspects of mythmaking; of history; of the daily movements and habits of the author. They aren’t travel guides, more like reflections on quotidian matters. Most of them necessarily also spin around an idea of what home is.