The Age of Kali: Travels and Encounters in India

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9780006547754: The Age of Kali: Travels and Encounters in India

According to the ancient Hindu scriptures, history is divided into four epochs. As William Dalrymple was told again and again on his travels around the Indian subcontinent, the region is now in the throes of the 'Kali Yug', the Age of Kali, an epoch of darkness and disintegration. In such an age normal conventions fall apart: anything is possible. 'The Age of Kali' is the distillation of ten years? relentless travelling around the length and breadth of the subcontinent, from the fortresses of the drug barons of the North-West Frontier to the jungle lairs of the Tamil Tigers, from the decaying palaces of Hyderabad to the Keralan exorcist temple of the bloodthirsty goddess Parashakti - She Who is Seated on a Throne of Five Corpses. Everywhere Dalrymple finds an ancient landscape overwhelmed by change, where the old certainties have been swept away, but where a new order has yet to fully establish itself. In some places the disintegration typical of the Age of Kali has reached almost apocalyptic proportions. In Lucknow Dalrymple finds a war being fought between rival wings of the student union, each side being armed with grenades and assault rifles; in neighbouring Bihar he finds the state has totally succumbed to a tidal wave of violence, corruption and endemic caste warfare. Courageous, compassionat, erudite and beautifully written, laced with a thread of William Dalrymple?s characteristic black humour, 'The Age of Kali' is a 'tour de force' of intellectual curiosity, direct observation and unprejudiced enquiry. Essential reading for anyone who wants to come to terms with India, it will further enhance Dalrymple?s reputation as the most formidable travel writer of his generation.

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Product Description:

William Dalrymple, who wrote so magically about India in ‘City of Djinns’, returns to the country in a series of remarkable essays.

Featured in its pages are 15-year-old guerrilla girls and dowager Maharanis; flashy Bombay drinks parties and violent village blood feuds; a group of vegetarian terrorists intent on destroying India’s first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet; and a palace where port and cigars are still carried to guests on a miniature silver steam train.

Dalrymple meets such figures as Imran Khan and Benazir Bhutto; he witnesses the macabre nightly offering to the bloodthirsty goddess Parashakti – She Who Is Seated on a Throne of Five Corpses; he experiences caste massacres in the badlands of Bihar and dines with a drug baron on the North-West Frontier; he discovers such oddities as the terrorist apes of Jaipur and the shrine where Lord Krishna is said to make love every night to his 16,108 wives and 64,732 milkmaids.

‘The Age of Kali’ is the fourth fascinating volume from the author of ‘In Xanadu’, ‘City of Djinns’ and ‘From the Holy Mountain’.

Review:

William Dalrymple has proved himself to be one of the most perceptive and enjoyable travel writers of the 1990s. His first book In Xanadu became an instant back-packer's classic, winning a stream of literary prizes. City of Djinns and From the Holy Mountain soon followed, to universal critical praise. Yet it is to India where Dalrymple continues to return in his travels, and his fourth book The Age of Kali is his most reflective book to date.

The result of 10 year's living and travelling throughout the Indian subcontinent, The Age of Kali emerges from Dalrymple's uneasy sense that the region is slipping into the most fearsome of all epochs in ancient Hindu cosmology: "the Kali Yug, the Age of Kali, the lowest possible throw, an epoch of strife, corruption, darkness and disintegration". The brilliance of this book lies in its refusal to slip into the cultural pessimism of books such as V.S. Naipaul's Beyond Belief. Dalrymple's love for the subcontinent, and his feel for its diverse cultural identity, comes across in every page, which makes its chronicles of political corruption, ethnic violence and social disintegration all the more poignant. The scope of the book is particularly impressive, from the vivid opening chapters portraying the lawless caste violence of Bihar, to interviews with the drug barons on the North-West Frontier, and Dalrymple's extraordinary encounter with the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. Some of the most fascinating sections of the book are Dalrymple's interviews with Imran Khan and Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, which read like non-fictional companion pieces to Salman Rushdie's bitterly satirical Shame. The Age of Kali is a dark, disturbing book which takes the pulse of a continent facing some tough questions. --Jerry Brotton

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 194 x 132 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. William Dalrymple, who wrote so magically about India in City of Djinns , returns to the country in a series of remarkable essays. Featured in its pages are 15-year-old guerrilla girls and dowager Maharanis; flashy Bombay drinks parties and violent village blood feuds; a group of vegetarian terrorists intent on destroying India s first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet; and a palace where port and cigars are still carried to guests on a miniature silver steam train. Dalrymple meets such figures as Imran Khan and Benazir Bhutto; he witnesses the macabre nightly offering to the bloodthirsty goddess Parashakti - She Who Is Seated on a Throne of Five Corpses; he experiences caste massacres in the badlands of Bihar and dines with a drug baron on the North-West Frontier; he discovers such oddities as the terrorist apes of Jaipur and the shrine where Lord Krishna is said to make love every night to his 16,108 wives and 64,732 milkmaids. The Age of Kali is the fourth fascinating volume from the author of In Xanadu , City of Djinns and From the Holy Mountain . Bookseller Inventory # AA89780006547754

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 194 x 132 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. William Dalrymple, who wrote so magically about India in City of Djinns , returns to the country in a series of remarkable essays. Featured in its pages are 15-year-old guerrilla girls and dowager Maharanis; flashy Bombay drinks parties and violent village blood feuds; a group of vegetarian terrorists intent on destroying India s first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet; and a palace where port and cigars are still carried to guests on a miniature silver steam train. Dalrymple meets such figures as Imran Khan and Benazir Bhutto; he witnesses the macabre nightly offering to the bloodthirsty goddess Parashakti - She Who Is Seated on a Throne of Five Corpses; he experiences caste massacres in the badlands of Bihar and dines with a drug baron on the North-West Frontier; he discovers such oddities as the terrorist apes of Jaipur and the shrine where Lord Krishna is said to make love every night to his 16,108 wives and 64,732 milkmaids. The Age of Kali is the fourth fascinating volume from the author of In Xanadu , City of Djinns and From the Holy Mountain . Bookseller Inventory # AA89780006547754

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, The Age of Kali: Travels and Encounters in India, William Dalrymple, William Dalrymple, who wrote so magically about India in 'City of Djinns', returns to the country in a series of remarkable essays. Featured in its pages are 15-year-old guerrilla girls and dowager Maharanis; flashy Bombay drinks parties and violent village blood feuds; a group of vegetarian terrorists intent on destroying India's first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet; and a palace where port and cigars are still carried to guests on a miniature silver steam train. Dalrymple meets such figures as Imran Khan and Benazir Bhutto; he witnesses the macabre nightly offering to the bloodthirsty goddess Parashakti - She Who Is Seated on a Throne of Five Corpses; he experiences caste massacres in the badlands of Bihar and dines with a drug baron on the North-West Frontier; he discovers such oddities as the terrorist apes of Jaipur and the shrine where Lord Krishna is said to make love every night to his 16,108 wives and 64,732 milkmaids. 'The Age of Kali' is the fourth fascinating volume from the author of 'In Xanadu', 'City of Djinns' and 'From the Holy Mountain'. Bookseller Inventory # B9780006547754

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