The Epic City: The World on the Streets of Calcutta

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No city on earth offers more conflicting allure than Calcutta. For Kushanava Choudhury, who’s returning to his homeland after graduating from Princeton, culture shock hits hard. Despite a formidably restless population nearing twenty million, Calcutta still has a “sit, have tea and roll with the punches” atmosphere, even in the newspaper world where he delights to find himself each day.

Calcutta was a prominent city for British entrepreneurs and their families well into the 20th century. The present day hurly-burly conceals how its prominence is now diminishing. Choudhury shares a whole new perspective on his return, defying his American friends’ surprise at his decision to head back to India. As a reporter on The Citizen, once the leading newspaper and still commanding a wide circulation, he introduces readers to a personal panorama of the city.

Many stories are human dramas. When the three-year-old son of The Citizen’s elevator operator disappears, panic sets in. Was the little boy abducted for money, a ransom? Surely not for his father’s humble salary. Was the disappearance a prelude to renewed Muslim and Hindu riots? No…the child had wandered off and was in a neighbor’s care. And a new story will be readied for the edition.

Choudhury interviews poets rather than politicians and childhood friends from his earlier years as well as strangers. He writes sparingly, a literary style interspersed with a journalistic streak, a satisfying blend that embraces the reader and makes the noise and squalor of Calcutta almost inviting.

Reviewed By:

Author Kushanava Choudhury
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher Bloomsbury USA
Publish Date 2018-Jan-09
ISBN 9781635571561 Buy this Book
Issue January 2018
Category Travel


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