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“In essays that bespeak a thoroughly cosmopolitan sensibility, Githa Hariharan not only takes us on illuminating tours through cities rich in history, but gives a voice to urban people from all over the world—Kashmir, Palestine, Delhi—trying to live with basic human dignity under circumstances of dire repression or crushing poverty.” —JM Coetzee What does a medieval city in South India have in common with Washington D.C.? How do people in Kashmir imagine the freedom they long for? To whom does Delhi, city of grand monuments and hidden slums, actually belong? And what makes a city, or any place, home? In ten intricately carved essays, renowned author Githa Hariharan tackles these questions and takes readers on an eye-opening journey across time and place, exploring the history, landscape, and people that have shaped the world’s most fascinating and fraught cities. Inspired by Italo Calvino’s playful and powerful writing about journeys and cities, Harihan combines memory, cultural criticism, and history to sculpt fascinating, layered stories about the places around the world—from Delhi, Mumbai, and Kashmir to Palestine, Algeria, and eleventhcentury Córdoba, from Tokyo to New York and Washington. In narrating the lives of these place’s vanquished and marginalized, she plumbs the depths of colonization and nationbuilding, poverty and war, the fight for human rights and the day-to-day business of survival.
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