Reviews/Articles in the press
Conversations with the writers
The marvel of this book is difficult to pinpoint. It has a richness of recorded detail from the belly of a modern Indian metropolis. Its emotional range is large, from humour (as in the opening story, Jaanu Nagar’s Delhi Liner) to empathy (Neelofar’s My Mother’s Dread) to essay (Suraj Rai’s Having Seen it From Close)... Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Trickster City has no bad guys, not the police, not the state, not even the bulldozers.
Read this review and a conversation with the writers in TimeOut Delhi (by Raghu Karnad), February 2010.
...the fragments that make up Trickster City are no simple autobiographical narratives, content to depict worlds familiar to themselves (and unfamiliar to us). They are pieces of carefully crafted prose, engagements with experience: their own and others’. These are writers who have grappled long and hard with the gap between life and narrative, and do not promise any objective ‘truth’. If Anand wants to escape the unreflective snappiness of news reports, Azra is keen that her writing be a product not simply of what happened but of “[her] struggle with what happened”.
Read this conversation with the writers in Tehelka (by Trisha Gupta), March 13, 2010.
(in chronological order)
Quite simply, Trickster City is a lovely book. It deserves to be read and it is no surprise that it has found its place on a number of bestseller lists.
Read this review by Urvashi Butalia in Deccan Chronicle, March 14, 2010
Trickster City is part reportage, part travelogue and all heart. Written with a robustness that can come only from direct experience, this collection of tales, of lives lived is mandatory reading for anyone who wants to understand Delhi fully.
Read this review by Namita Bhandare in Hindustan Times, March 19, 2010.
[W]hen the first fleet of bulldozers rumbled into Nangla Macchi, a 150-acre settlement sitting on fly-ash deposits near Pragati Maidan, and Rai sat down to write about the demolition, he realised he had no words to describe what he felt. “The words that make my vocabulary were too weak to express those emotions. I knew what I experienced needed a lexicon different from the one handed down to me by newspapers. But that lexicon has not yet come into being in this city,” he writes... But while writing so, Rai may have unwittingly helped create that lexicon. Trickster City brings together 20 writers, including Rai, to create that new language to describe Delhi.
Read this review by Uma Vishnu in Indian Express, March 20, 2010.
I tried listing the pieces I really liked and saw myself copying the table of contents.
Read this review by Amandeep Sandhu in Businessworld, March 26, 2010
Trickster City is... a compassionate, sensitive, sometimes funny, often optimistic portrayal of the little incidents that make up our daily lives.
Read this review by Malini Sood in DNA, April 4, 2010.
The following piece of virtuoso writing does not say a word about policemen, but ends up saying reams by describing the effect of a few policemen walking down a lane: “Young men retreated into their houses. Men covered their card games with bedsheets. Autorickshaw drivers moved their three-wheelers to the side. Everything abated.” All this is not to imply that the book works only at the level of detail. There are stories here that Chekov would have been happy to write.
Read this review by Srinath Perur in Deccan Herald, April 7, 2010.
At Penguin’s Spring Fever festival, a final session was dedicated to the Trickster City. That’s also the title of a collection of writings, translated from Bahurupiya Shahar...
On Penguin's Spring Fever Festival, featuring writers of Trickster City, William Dalrymple, Sam Miller and Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Hussain, read Nilanjana S. Roy's report in Business Standard, March 23, 2010.