Rana Dasgupta

Solo

Rana Dasgupta

I remember liking Tokyo Cancelled, Rana Dasgupta’s earlier (and first) work of fiction. When I first came across Solo, its blurb content for some reason made me stay away. I remembered the leaps of imagination and thought I might not be able to keep pace. Recently, I read his non-fiction work ‘Capital’ and thoroughly loved it. And thus Solo arrived on my bookshelf.

A blind old man in Bulgaria, cared for by his neighbours, and dependent on them for many of his basic needs, reminiscing about the days gone by, might seem like a rather dry premise to base a novel on, but it magnificently surprised me. Ulrich is nearing the end of his life’s tenth decade and has lived through years of Bulgarian political experiments as the country’s elite switched their ideologies through the great wars and after. His early well-provided-for life contrasts sharply with the poverty of his later years, and the steadily declining quality of his life is poignant in itself. Through Ulrich’s perspective and experiences we see the socio-economic changes that take place in the country, and the author is able to do justice to both the suddenness of some of them as well as the gradual nature of the others. The sensitivity with which the author narrates a life that’s fallen on hard times that’s truly wonderful. More

Capital : The Eruption of Delhi

Rana Dasgupta

Much has been written about the Maximum City – fiction and non fiction – and it continues to be the muse of many authors. But other than Dalrymple’s City of Djinns, I have not really read a book on Delhi. Add to that Rana Dasgupta’s superb play on the title itself – Capital – and this was a book I had to read. I am really glad it didn’t disappoint.
There are many Delhis, as Dalrymple brought out in his book. The city has existed in many forms across centuries, and many of them live side by side – Mughal, British, post-partition, post 1984, and the one that the author stresses most on – post 1991. It is easy to see many parts of the commentary as a standard impact of globalisation, but if you have lived on both sides of the 90s, you would know what an enormous impact liberalisation has had on our lives. But I get ahead of myself!  More