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. In reading his narratives, we see the ancient monuments and the imperial buildings from the view of those who inhabit the city. For 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 and an eye for life’s diversities. 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.
“Sam Miller has created a book that is both a quest and a love letter, and one which is as pleasingly eccentric and anarchic as its subject.”—William Dalrymple, author of City of Djinns, in his “Books of the Year” for the New Statesman (UK)“[Delhi is] a revelation . . . The liveliest of city travelogues.”—Literary Review (UK)
“Miller’s talent is dizzying and his narrative a rich accomplishment. I walked miles in Delhi—without moving an inch.”—The Times (UK)
“A thoroughly entertaining book . . . about a fascinating city.”—Financial Times (UK)
“[An] erudite, comical portrait of a city . . . An entertaining and thoughtful book.”—Evening Standard (UK)“As a modern-day flaneur, Miller makes laser-sharp observations of the city’s architecture and inhabitants, talking to everyone from university professors to ragpickers.”—Lonely Planet Magazine“A walking encyclopedia on contemporary Delhi.”—India Today"Miller offers a flâneur's account of Delhi-'India's dreamland-and its purgatory' as he strolls through slums and gated communities, humble neighborhood parks and historic tombs. A longtime BBC correspondent based in Delhi, Miller understands and deftly conveys India's contradictions and makes cultural commentary with an insider's confidence. Even if there is a strain of smugness—Miller seems to enjoy feeling slightly superior to more unseasoned foreigners and middle-class Delhites who don't share his interest in walking around the city-it's fleeting; he is so likeable and so willing to confront the city on its own terms. He visits porn theaters, visits cult members, falls into manholes. He shifts easily from the comic to the serious, to the darker details of Delhi life—the water shortages, violence, disease, and staggering income disparity—helped by a picaresque narrative complete with chapter headings ('Chapter One: In which the Author is dazzled by the Metro, finds a cure for hemorrhoids, and turns the tables on a an unscrupulous shoeshine man'). A cityscape suffused with wisdom, chance, and delight."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Sam Miller was born in London in 1962. He studied history at Cambridge University and politics at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies, before joining the BBC. In the early nineties he was a BBC World Service correspondent in Delhi. He returned to Delhi in 2002, where he now runs media projects for the BBC World Service Trust, and also works as a TV commentator, journalist, and book reviewer. He is married to Shireen and they have two children, Zubin and Roxana.