As someone whose formations years were spend in Kolkata, I read Indrajit Hazra's book with keen interest –and delight. He conveys his deep knowledge of Kolkata's history and culture with style and wit, deftly capturing the city's glories and disenchantiments, its ironies and disenchantments, its ironies and its anxieties. The personal and the political are beautifully blended. I thought I knew Kolkata very well –now,after reading Hazra, I shall visit it refresh with new eyes, and greater understanding.
Indrajit Hazra's exploration of Kolkata –once Calcutta, hedquarters of the Raj –goes far beyond the expected stories about a metropolis that has been mined for its cliches by a long mined for its cliches by a long line of writers. Artists, grumblers and tellers of tall tales. He takes us to the eccentric paras [neighbourhoods]and clubs of the north and the south ; past building crumbling silently into spectacular ruins; deep inside Park Street's iconic restraints and watering holes; through roads choked by political rallies; to rundown cinema halls haunted by lonely men, and into the lairs of soothsayers and tantric love gurus.
Part personal essay, part documentary, part cultural history, Grand Delusions is utterly distinctive and full of surprise. Both intimate and provocative, it shines new light on a great and fascinating city.
Kolkata –born Indrajit Hazra is a novelist and journalist. He was educated at St Xavior's Collegiate School and Jadavpur Universit. He moved to New Delhi in 1998, where he wrote and published three novels –The Burnt Forehead of Max Saul, The Garden of Earthly Delights and The Bioscope Man –all set in Kolkata. He also writes the popular Sunday column 'Red Herring' in the Hindustan Times. This is his first book of non –fiction.
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