Twilight in Delhi (New Directions Paperbook)
Ahmed AliISBN: 081121267X;
In this novel written in English and completed in 1939, Ali, an Urdu-speaking native of India, commemorated the daily melody of traditional life in the old city of Delhi among the last, impoverished heirs to the refined Mogul civilization that dominated India until the advent of the English. Set during the early years of this century, it recaptures the texture of family life for Mir Nihal, a well-born Muslim who loves pigeons and whose son wants to get married. It recounts how that son, Asgar, fell in love, married, fell out of love, had a daughter, and became a widower. Ali's Proustian command of detail makes this archetypically human story sing. When, for instance, cats manage to kill Mir Nihal's pigeons, Ali makes us feel a visceral sense of his loss--and of his impending doom. At book's end, Mir Nihal lies bedridden after a stroke, Asgar is widowed, and the English have torn down Delhi's ancient walls and are building a "New Delhi" that will swamp the old. A perfect novel, the...
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