An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking
Reversing his parents’ immigrant path, a young writer returns to India and discovers an old country making itself new.
Anand Giridharadas sensed something was afoot as his plane prepared to land in Bombay. An elderly passenger looked at him and said, “We’re all trying to go that way,” pointing to the rear. “You, you’re going this way?”
Giridharadas was returning to the land of his ancestors, amid an unlikely economic boom. But he was interested less in its gold rush than in its cultural upheaval, as a new generation has sought to reconcile old traditions with new ambitions.
In India Calling, Giridharadas brings to life the people and the dilemmas of India today, as seen through the prism of his émigré family history and his childhood memories. He blends the objectivity of the outsider with the intimacy of the insider. The result is India seen at once from within and without. Giridharadas introduces us to entrepreneurs, radicals, industrialists and religious seekers, but, most of all, to Indian families. Through their stories, and his own, he paints an intimate portrait of a country becoming modern while striving to remain itself.
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Praise for India Calling:
‘One of the finest analysts of contemporary India. This is an engrossing and acutely observed appreciation of a country that is at once old and new – an enormously readable book in which everyone, at home in India or abroad, will find something distinctive and altogether challenging.’—Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate
“Giridharadas is poised and wonderfully observant. He writes perfect, often humorous descriptions of everyday scenes, turning them into something remarkable.” - Canberra Times
“The writer’s gritty and witty pen portraits of a host of Indian characters and places makes a great read. Highly recommended” - Sunday Herald Sun
‘A memorable debut, full of insight and diversion.’—William Dalrymple, author of Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India
“An engaging book, India Calling discovers the ways in which the subcontinent is reinventing itself while trying to maintain its unique cultural identity.” - Vacations and Travel
"a snapshot of a country in flux" - the Age
“entertaining and illuminating” - Sydney Morning Herald
“artful, entertaining, insightful and humble” - Inside Story
"insightful" - Courier Mail
‘Savvy and often moving, India Calling is for those who prefer the view from the ground than from thirty thousand feet.’—Edward Luce, author of In Spite of the Gods: The Rise of Modern India