Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Twilight in Delhi (New Directions Paperbook)” as Want to Read:
Twilight in Delhi (New Directions Paperbook)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Twilight in Delhi (New Directions Paperbook)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  276 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The sounds and smells of Delhi--the flutter of pigeons' wings, the call to prayer, the scent of jasmine and frying ghee--come to life in the novel whose detail E.M. Forster called "new and fascinating" upon its original publication in 1940. Reprinted with a revised introduction by the author, Twilight in Delhi is enacted between two revolutionary momen s of change, depicti ...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published August 8th 1994 by New Directions Publishing (first published 1940)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Twilight in Delhi, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Twilight in Delhi

The God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyA Fine Balance by Rohinton MistryThe White Tiger by Aravind AdigaMidnight's Children by Salman RushdieThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Best Indian Books
135th out of 562 books — 1,592 voters
Train to Pakistan by Khushwant SinghThe God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyA Suitable Boy by Vikram SethMidnight's Children by Salman RushdieCoolie by Mulk Raj Anand
HT's Greatest Indian Novels
8th out of 54 books — 10 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 739)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Sairam Krishnan
A glorious novel.

I read City of Djinns earlier this year, and with Dalrymple reccomending this book, had been meaning to get my hands on it for quite some time.

And on (surprisingly) moving to Delhi last month, bought it immediately. Read it this rainy weekend, and reading it, broke my heart.

Ahmed Ali writes with a sadness that permeates into you, and you cringe inwardly at scenes that time has now rendered obsolete. The story of Mir Nihal and his family is a classic, and the novel brings to life
Twilight in Delhi is a novel by Ahmed Ali set in the pre-independence era. The main protagonist is Mir Nihal, the head of the household of an upper middle class Muslim family in Delhi. The chapters paint a picture of Delhi of the time, giving a feeling that things were not hurried and moving at a sedate pace. I often felt wanting to get myself transported into that era in order to escape the hustle and bustle of today’s life.

The story revolves around Mir Nihal’s family and Asghar, his youngest s
This book has been on my 'To read' list since two years now. William Dalrymple mentioned this book in 'City of Djinns'. Indeed book is a classic - it chronicles the period when last Mughal king had collapsed, his relations reduced to beggars and maids and coronation of King George is about to take place. It is set in part of Delhi - we now know as old Delhi. It chronicles the lives and times of Nihal family. The pigeon flying days, days when people were still learning to get accustomed to foreig ...more
Momina Masood
I am so sorry for not liking this book as it is a part of our course this semester. *sigh* Papers and exams will only make me more impatient with this. -_-
Rohit Pande
Was a recommended read. Belongs to the time and part of Delhi I am least familiar with and so it took a while to get the book going for me.

The central theme of the book probably is "being with the time". Once you get this idea that nothing out of ordinary is going to happen and the story is going to pace by the hours and the minutes of the day, you can appreciate the inanities of life, so lyrically presented.

"Centuries and aeons pass but never a smile lights up the inscrutable face of time. Li
I feel an urge to write back the entire book here for the plethora of excerpt that I should end up leaving here may only keep out a modicum of text from this so beautifully penned tale; but as it is a review, the statement of significance is that I find this book closer to home.
Set in a Delhi of second decade of 20th century, its not just an obituary of a dilapidated city and its overhaul but also an insight of customs, family ties and outlook of muslims society of that era which ,whether accep
A very description-rich and languidly paced novel. It tells the story of a family living in New Delhi under colonial rule in 1911, set to the backdrop of changing political and cultural tides. There really is no plot to speak of, and the book is more about creating a snapshot of a city on the cusp of change - mapping out the busy streets and their colorful occupants, how people spent their days, what certain ceremonies/rituals looked like. It was really interesting to get an insight on Muslim cu ...more
Must read for anyone who is in love with Delhi or wants to be
Harish Muralidhar
Nothing in my opinion could describe the pre independence delhi and the life of a Muslim family in such a vivid portrayal. Ali's play of words describes each moment in the book with enough brilliance to fill you with awe of the Indian sub continent's possession of gems. A simple story of a family's transition through the receding influences of the then extinct mughal empire to the British establishment. A 4 on 5 for this highly recommended read for those looking not just for good literature but ...more
Himanshu Saini
Mir Nihal, main protagonist is upper class Muslim who has seen 1857 revolt as child. Now story is in 1911 and he is living with his wife, sons and daughter. Things which have attracted me in this novel are:
1. Display of culture of people living in Delhi in early 1900. Kite and pigeon flying in particular. Role which fakirs, maulanas and other mystics played in the families, marriages, social fabric etc.
2. Shift which took place with the advent of British Rule. How the old Delhi(Chandni Chowk and
Promised to be a trip down memory lane, encapsulating an era gone by. Or so I thought. Am not sure I got a full sighted glimpse of that fact I was left with a sense of incompleteness, I wanted to know more about Delhi of 1911s.
But what it did do is to take me into the strange workings of mind of women who lived in Zenana of that era. Filled with superstition, traditions, bllind acceptance.....Were the people of that era really so emotionally driven? Was the 'scientific thinking' mode s
Debasish Das
Regarded as one of remarkable modern Islamic literature, Ali Ahmed's Twilight in Delhi was first published in 1940, but was almost forgotten when most of the books' stock was destroyed in a fire, till it was resurrected again in 1964.. till then the book has gone ahead to claim many critical acclaims for the work that somewhat proves that it transcends the language in which it is written, in slowing down the reader's pace to narrate the minutest of rituals in Chandni Chowk of 1911, but not by su ...more
Claire S
Jan 17, 2009 Claire S marked it as to-read
Recommended to Claire by: Aamir Khan blog

from wikipedia:

Ahmed Ali
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Ahmed Ali (1910 in New Delhi – 14 January 1994 in Karachi) was a Pakistani novelist, diplomat and scholar, who was responsible for writing arguably the greatest novel ever written about Delhi. Born in Delhi, India, he was involved in progressive literary movements as a young man. Professor Ahmed Ali was born in Delhi in 1910, and educated at Aligarh and Lucknow universities, standing first-class and first in
AsaD  aYaZ
Twilight in Delhi is novel describing the condition of Indian Muslims after war of independence 1857. Author has pointed the affects of mutiny on Muslim's life. Minor details mentioned in the novel depict the keen observation of Author of the society.
A must read for the students of Post colonial literature.
Tania Simonetti
poetic picture of delhi and its inhabitants, a powerful description of the change that befalls societies and nations. Yet I wished that the bookd would not close on such a pathetic, english-novel tone where before it had sustained such a delightful rythm and deep and funny insight into the characters
Shivnarayan Dhuppar
Read it for its imagery... nothing much in story; but, wait, who reads for stories.
Do read it, the passion, the love with which the author has penned this book is felt in each sentence of the book. It has been crafted with utmost dedication and care; sublime.
Oct 14, 2014 Nivedita added it
Recommended to Nivedita by: Flipkart
Amazing write up on pre-Independence Delhi....the life of Mir Nihal and his family ...their survival through all the ups and downs of life.
i have heard so much about this book and when i finally started reading it was obvious why all the rave reviews.

the book is about the demise and transformation of delhi from the mughal to the british rule. it is about these moments of loss, despair and yet curiosity and enthusiasm for some.

with these at the backdrop the book chronicles the saga of a family from its prosperous days to old age and decay. the change from an atmosphere of joviality in the beginning into an almost depressingly devast
Chris Evans
Just beautiful. The vicissitudes of life in the muslim quarter of Delhi in the late 19th century.
Madhubrata Bhattacharya
People actually like this?It is not only badly written,but also just raally,really,dull.
The geniuses of Ferdowsi (Shanahmeh) and Mahfouz (Cairo Trilogy) combined. Truly a classic.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jonathan Lopatin
Very interesting read.
A poignant post-colonial discourse. Touching scenes of Old Delhi. Beautifully used images and symbols signifying the loss of a bygone way of life.
Kris Hill
Oddly elegiac novel about Delhi before Independence. It's extremely strange to read this account of a mostly-vanished society, written contemporaneously, which reads as though the author was looking back from 40 years afterward, already in exile in Karachi. Highly recommend this for anyone who wants to know about those times. .
Pragya Bhatt
This was another one of those books that I read compulsively. If you're interested in Old Delhi and in what it was like in the 1800s-1900s then this book is a must read. It also chronicles the mindset of people through an important time in Indian history. And since it's fiction, it was all the more enjoyable for me.
Nihal Zafar
Gives a panaromic view of the period after the decline of Mughal empire also known as "Dilli ki sham" Meer said "Dilli jo ek shehar tha, alam me intekhab..."
**shehar = city, alam me intekhab = selected in the entire world...
Ayesha U
I was quite fascinated by the life and culture of a typical Muslim family in the pre-partition era in Delhi.

Overall, it was a nice read.
Confused as to what is the central idea. Otherwise, it efficiently describes the pre-partition era. A nice blend of history and fiction.
there are patches of brilliance - particularly the descriptions of the hot, dusty days.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 24 25 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sto ancora leggendo... 1 1 Oct 16, 2008 01:46AM  
  • On the Grand Trunk Road
  • Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan's Military Economy
  • Trespassing: A Novel
  • Sunlight on a Broken Column
  • Story-Wallah: Short Fiction from South Asian Writers
  • The Wonder That Was India: A Survey of the History and Culture of the Indian Sub-Continent before the coming of the Muslims
  • Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin: The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin
  • Peacock Throne
  • The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan
  • Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity
  • The Music Room: A Memoir
  • Cuckold
  • A Deconstructed Heart
  • Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons
  • City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
  • A Matter of Time
  • The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan
  • Engaging the Muslim World
The Golden Tradition: An Anthology Of Urdu Poetry The Black Celts: An Ancient African Civilization In Ireland And Britain Of Rats and Diplomats The Federation Movement in Fiji, 1880-1902 Fiji and the Franchise

Share This Book