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Delhi, Adventures in a Megacity

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  260 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Visit the Delhi minisite here! This is an extraordinary portrait of one of the world’s largest cities. Sam Miller sets out to discover the real Delhi, a city he describes as being ‘India’s dreamtown—and its purgatory.’ He treads the city streets, making his way through Delhi and its suburbs, visiting its less celebrated destinations—Nehru Place, Rohini, Ghaziabad and Gurga ...more
Hardcover, 2008, 291 pages
Published by Penguin Books India (first published July 1st 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Tarun Bahuguna
The author and I share the same passion which is walking. The best part about Delhi is that you get to see both extremes of the world, rich and poor. His decision to explore the city by feet was the wisest and the looks Delhiites gave him on hearing the same was extremely hilarious but true.

As born and raised in this city, I guess, I already knew most of the places he visited but the insights he gave was refreshing and his humour was intact. I love the fact when author portrayed how Delhiites ar
Apr 09, 2012 Debamitra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a person who enjoys walking and discovering places...this book was an amazing read. I found nodding my head vigorously when the author mentions that Delhi-ites never walk and it is true. I have always wondered why people who live in a city which is full of things, people and places to discover, never bother to do so. Anyway, it was an enjoyable read though a lot has changed in the city from the time the book was written and yet many things still remain the same ! Sam Miller takes a humorous ...more
Camille McCarthy
I really enjoyed this book. It was already special to me since the author was the keynote speaker at my graduation in Delhi, but on reading it, I wish I had known more about him before I had seen him speak. At the time I didn't know much about him except that he had not been very positive about our school in his book, so I knew a few people were questioning why he spoke at our graduation, but after reading the book I understand. He really loves Delhi, and not just the posh parts of Delhi or the ...more
Jan 16, 2017 Joey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took me on a bit of critical roller-coaster. At first, I couldn't understand what Miller was getting at -- is this really just a travelogue of his wander through Delhi? Then, I was flummoxed by the seemingly random changes in tense. Sometimes he'll switch from past to present tense, back and forth, several times in the same story. I was little disappointed a hundred pages in, but still thoroughly entertained, if one can feel both ways at the same time.

Gradually though, Miller's scatter
Jan 07, 2017 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this a few years ago and recalled how much I liked it as I began working on a bookmark for the library. Miller's spiral walks explore so many aspects of the city that as a reader I felt like I was there exploring with him. Great book.
David P
Nov 27, 2012 David P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an offbeat but delightful book about Delhi, capital of India. Sam Miller is British (even when his passport states "Person of Indian Origin"), married to an Indian, a resident of Delhi conversant in Hindi. Here he guides the reader on a walking tour around the city, along segments of a large spiral path unwinding from its center. Some travelogues may be padded for extra bulk, but not this one, chockfull of charming encounters, unpredictable incidents and unconventional landmarks. After ...more
The author is an Englishman living in, and having had a reasonably lengthy association with Delhi, takes the approach of a 18th century French flaneur - someone who walks aimlessly around a city. Although not quite aimlessly - he navigates Delhi on foot in a spiral pattern, starting at Connaught Place, working his way out, anti-clockwise. On the way he visits many places - some appear to be on a 'must see' itinerary, others are random and minor - and many people. Most are interesting, some he ma ...more
Miller decides to explore his adopted city on foot by starting at its centre, Connaught Place, and working outwards in ever increasing circles. He deserves full marks for sticktoitiveness, Delhi is not a city built for walking. It is, despite the author's fondness for it, quite awful. He runs into open sewers, ponds of water where mosquitoes pass on dengue fever, an open-air abattoir and oh yes, falls into an open manhole. Delhi continues to grow and the economic miracle of the 1990s puts middle ...more
Rajiv Chopra
Aug 30, 2013 Rajiv Chopra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in a good view of Delhi
This is a surprisingly good book. It is not long, and the manner in which the book has been written makes it a pleasure to read. I like the tool of using "intermissions" between chapters, and this makes it refreshing.

There is a lot of good information about Delhi, and about some more stuff as well. I figured that I know Delhi well, and I do, but there were enough surprises that were thrown up from time to time.

Sam evidently does have a feel for Delhi, and a lot of "positive energy" towards the
Aug 20, 2012 Kerri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've never read a "travelogue" before; this one just popped out at me at the library so I picked it up. I loved the idea: walking through the city in a spiral to see all of the variation within it. And Delhi is so jam-packed, there is a lot you can see. The stories he told were generally interesting, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always with that sense of Truth, that "yeah, that could happen" quality. The further I got, though, the less he seemed to be in an "observer" role and the more he ...more
Apr 30, 2013 Suhit rated it liked it
Shelves: delhi, travel
Nice read about the author's experiences in Delhi. I liked his unique way of spiralling across Delhi, starting from CP. I wanted to know about contemporary Delhi, this book provided me an insight.
Well, the experiences Sam Miller had were at times not believable, but well, I don't know about Delhi's hidden corners. He talks about many pleasant and unpleasant experiences. The unpleasant ones tends to hurt Delhiite sentiments. Many a times there are quite humorous incidents that keeps the reading
Nov 02, 2011 Debra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to love this book, but I just couldn't get over the structure. It's a series of vignettes of scenes and people encountered by the author as he walks in a spiral through Delhi. It should be awesome, but for some reason, it wasn't. While I got a few glimpses of what the city might be like, most of the little anecdotes just didn't go anywhere, and I was never able to establish any sort of emotional connection with the book or the author. I slogged through it, hoping that would chang ...more
Leo Africanus
Jan 03, 2010 Leo Africanus rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, ethnic, moghul-ism
An entertaining account of the author's spiralling walk around Delhi. Peppered with some tasty footnotes. As ever, the coverage of Old Delhi and the preceding Sultanate era provide the best reads.

Although the book starts with great energy and wit it sadly runs out of progressively more steam and limps towards the finishing line (much like the author who falls over at least 4 times in the course of the book).

William Dalrymple's City of Djinns remains the best modern travelogue of the city.
Jul 31, 2011 Saurabh rated it really liked it
Somebody called Delhi the greatest psychedelic show on earth. On that count this book really does not provide too many answers. Maybe someday a born and brought up in Delhi kind of a Delhite would have the passion to walk the streets in the same way, maybe then we would have clearer answers as to what makes the city tick and behave like it does,...Meanwhile this one is more like observations on city landmarks...Yet, thanks to the mangeable size and fluidity of narrative is immensely readable.

Dec 19, 2011 Liz rated it liked it
Bought this at the Delhi airport on my way out of the city after a two-week stay and read it on the second plane home. Even after having been to Delhi twice, I don't think I've gained any sense of how its character is unique (probably because it's the only place I've been in India so far). This book captures many interesting scenes, anecdotes really, and the author obviously experienced the city many times more deeply than I have.
Prosenjit Paul
Nov 05, 2012 Prosenjit Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most engaging travel books I have read. A very unique approach as well. The fact that he is a genuine Indophile shines through, as he lends a very humane touch to the typical stereotypical Indians typecast by modern writers. Accidentally picked this book up when searching for something on Bomby, and I dont regret that one bit. :-)
Dec 10, 2015 Erica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books
Eh. I didn't finish it. I'm pretty obsessive about all things India, but I didn't care much for the author himself, and he's the central figure/storyteller, so it was hard to just appreciate the stories of the eccentricities and details of Delhi. His continued use of "flaneur" annoyed the crap out of me. It's probably a good book if he doesn't annoy you.
Oct 31, 2010 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now this is the book I wanted about Delhi. Miller, and Englishman living in Delhi, takes the approach of a 18th century French "flaneur" (someone who walks aimlessly arond a city) and navigated Delhi on foot in a spiral pattern. He describes small details and meets people along the way, giving you a flavor of Delhi's personality. He's funny and smart. I want to do what he does.
Dec 03, 2014 Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I started reading it just before my first ever trip to Delhi, and finished it a day after leaving. It is great to read about a lot of places I've now seen, and learn more about those I haven't. An honest portrayal of a growing city that reveals the good, the bad and the surprising about this magical place.
Shaun Major
Jan 11, 2014 Shaun Major rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could see and smell Delhi as I read Miller's tale of his walks through the gloriously chaotic sprawl of India's capital. Constantly delightful, the only surprise was just how much of My own experiences of Delhi I could see in my mind's eye. A wonderful introduction to Delhi as well as a return home to previous visitors.
Apr 07, 2015 Ramya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Walk. And you shall discover. Delhi is hidden in bits and pieces everywhere in the city. Find a small part of history here, a look into the future there. A smile in adversity, a look at the slums, a walk where there's no road, a sewer for a river, a blooming flower made of stone, a group of people from all over uniting for a cause... You can live here forever and yet not know it completely.
Dec 10, 2011 Ilonita50 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture, travel
Its a good book, some parts found boring some very interesting. In my point of view author has reached the aim of show the reader sontrast of Delhi and its life, people. For me as i have never been to Delhi yet, it seems a little bit hard to imagine all, so if i would have been there once -i would hav enjoy it more:)
Nov 10, 2013 Kj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scholarly, smart, suave, stylized, and simply superb story of the city of the sultans presented with the generous doze of the traditional British humor with a whole new perspective on my city of the new millennium by a citizen of the city of the past millennium :-)
Nov 12, 2010 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, travel
Excellent. All cities should have a book like this. And I'm happy I had this one to help me around Delhi in a way that no other guide book would.
Jan 08, 2011 Alana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not bad for my 68th & final book of 2010...

Though Sam wanders just as aimlessly in his writing as he does in Delhi.
Linda Dorr
Oct 13, 2013 Linda Dorr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written, interesting look at Delhi from the pont of view of someone living there and exploring the city on foot.
Aug 31, 2012 Nitya rated it really liked it
Very well-written, funny, informed, (relatively) unbiased. I love how he draws (imaginary or not) lifescapes about the people he meets and how he frets and worries about them.
Sep 03, 2009 Jenny rated it liked it
This book was fun to read since I spent the summer in Delhi. Honestly, i have never seen half the things he describes, and it was a fun way to appreciate the city and the culture a little better.
Nov 28, 2012 Maura marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paused, non-fic, travel, india
abandoned purely because of time constraints. I like the conceit of following his travels as he walks around Delhi in a spiral. Will probably pick this up again later.
Mar 02, 2015 Malika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: delhi
Its a wonderful book.
It has made me get out of the house and start exploring the city.
If a book can make u get up and do something, it certainly must be great :)
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