Penguin (India), 2010
Azra Tabassum, Jaanu Nagar, Lakhmi Chand Kohli, Rakesh Khairalia, Yashoda Singh, Kiran Verma, Suraj Rai, Neelofar, Kulwinder Kaur, Shamsher Ali, Babli Rai, Ankur Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Love Anand, Nasreen, Rabiya Quraishy, Sunita Nishad, Saifuddin, Arish Qureshi, Tripan Kumar
Translated by Shveta Sarda
Read about the book and advance praise for the book below!
Trickster City is available at any bookstore across India and can also be purchased online from Penguin.
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Read reviews here.
Trickster City is an extraordinary composite of writings on the city of Delhi. They were written over a period of two years by a group of twenty young people who live in different places in the city of Delhi, and who have, over the last several years, sustained among themselves and with others around them, a relationship of writing and conversing about the city.
This book chronicles the difficult period of loss of home and livelihood in the city through urban eviction, encounters with the agencies of the state, love stories gone awry, the fragility of relationships, and the sustained effort to build life in anticipation of beauty and pleasure.
The writers draw from experiences, events and biographies, part fictive, part documentary, to inscribe an image of the city that is rarely available. There is a yearning in their writings for the expression of the poetic and allegorical alongside the harshness of everyday existence.
Trickster City is an aphoristic and playful meander by writers in search of a new language that expresses the profound uncertainties and delicately realised joys of life in the city.
All the writers are are in their twenties, and live in neighbourhoods across the city, including LNJP colony in Central Delhi, Dakshinpuri in South Delhi and Sawda-Ghevra, a new resettlement colony at the northern frontier of the city. They have been associated for different durations with the Cybermohalla labs set by up Ankur Society for Alternatives in Education and Sarai–CSDS in different neighbourhoods in Delhi.
The translator Shveta Sarda works in Sarai-CSDS since 2001.
ADVANCE PRAISE for Trickster City
Trickster City is a groundbreaking collection of writings about the South Asian city, its authors so free in their intelligence and imagination that they put conventional, pious analysis to shame—and demonstrate, ultimately, that even the most pressing material circumstances can never constrain the kind of intelligence that lives in them.
The thumbnail sketches, vignettes, stories and testimonies here invoke an urban landscape that is only partly outside us. The chaos, uncertainties and contradictions are us, as we negotiate the city as an overwhelming, inescapable inner reality in twenty-first century India. The Trickster City may well be a lovable but impossible part of our selves.
Trickster City is the gentle, compassionate anti-dote to the mass of mail-fisted representations of the ‘under-class’ that has become so popular these days. The writers that make up this collection are almost amazing in their restraint, their ability to distil that perfect moment that conjures up the times they live in. Story after story evokes the ways in which people keep love alive while a kind of terror, the terror of being poor in a cruel city, lurks offstage, just a midnight knock away.
If you put your ear to this book you will be able to hear people breathing, if you touch it, you will be able to feel their fragile, but furious pulse. If you read this book, you will be greatly rewarded.
This book is a reflection of the experiences, thoughts, ideas and aspirations of the underbelly of the metropolis. These writings have precision of thought and an optimistic determination, which looks at the future with hope, courage and patience. The portrayal of modest experience is matter of fact and the insights have a wisdom that only experience can bring and no amount of education or knowledge can impart.