Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

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Delhi Noir (India)

Edited by:

The legendary city of Delhi, India provides fertile ground for stories of darkness and despair.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“For those whose view of India is shaped by The Jewel in the Crown, conversations with a call-in center or even Slumdog Millionaire, this anthology in Akashic’s noir series will register simultaneously as a shock, an education and entertainment. All 14 stories are briskly paced, beautifully written and populated by vivid, original characters . . . Few books can alter one’s perception about the state of a society, but this does, while delivering noir that’s first class in any light.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Star of the show is the city itself, and this is where Delhi Noir really succeeds as a work of art. The city is undead, an aggressive and relentless giant lumbering defiant towards a choice of hells, a festering beast playing host to pockets of messy life and easy violence.”
Wasafiri Magazine


Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each story is set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.

Brand-new stories by: Irwin Allan Sealy, Omair Ahmad, Radhika Jha, Ruchir Joshi, Nalinaksha Bhattacharya, Meera Nair, Siddharth Chowdhury, Mohan Sikka, Palash K. Mehrotra, Hartosh Singh Bal, Hirsh Sawhney, Tabish Khair, Uday Prakash, and Manjula Padmanabhan.

From the introduction by Hirsh Sawhney:

Every morning, papers in Delhi abound with alarming stories: accounts of the unmitigated corruption and contract killing that make this city of more than fifteen million tick; indications of increasing divisions between rich and poor that lead servants to murder masters and foment Maoist movements in the country’s hinterland; synopses of so many rapes and sexual assaults that readers become numb to them. Yet the everyday depravity and anguish of Delhi life remains confined to news copy. Despite notable exceptions, authors of literature—particularly those who write in English—usually choose to ignore the capital’s stains . . .

Delhi Noir‘s contributors are diverse: They are Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs; Punjabis, Biharis, Bengalis, and Keralites; men and women; gay and straight . . . What they have in common is the inclination to write delectable literature that doesn’t shy away from the city’s uncomfortable underside. Their fiction isn’t politically correct and refuses to pander to popular perceptions about India or its capital, perceptions that conform with the agendas of governments, glossy magazines, and multinational corporations . . .

Read an interview with Dehli Noir contributor Mohan Sikka at Bombay Super.

Table of Contents


Part I: With You, For You, Always
“Yesterday Man” by Omair Ahmad (Ashram)
“How I Lost My Clothes” by Radhika Jha (Lodhi Gardens)
“Last In, First Out” by Irwin Allan Sealy (Delhi Ridge)
“Parking” by Ruchir Joshi (Nizamuddin West)
“Hissing Cobras” by Nalinaksha Bhattacharya (R.K. Puram)

Part II: Youngistan
“The Railway Aunty” by Mohan Sikka (Paharganj)
“Hostel” by Siddharth Chowdhury (Delhi University, North Campus)
“Small Fry” by Meera Nair (Inter State Bus Terminal)
“Fit of Rage” by Palash Krishna Mehrotra (Defence Colony)
“Just Another Death” by Hartosh Singh Bal (Gyan Kunj)

Part III: Walled City, World City
“Gautam Under a Tree” by Hirsh Sawhney (Green Park)
“The Scam” by Tabish Khair (Jantar Mantar)
“The Walls of Delhi” by Uday Prakash, translated by Jason Grunebaum (Rohini)
“Cull” by Manjula Padmanabhan (Bhalswa)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Published: 8/1/09
  • IBSN: 9781933354781
  • e-IBSN: 9781936070268


HIRSH SAWHNEY’s writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement, the Financial Times, Outlook, and numerous other periodicals. He is the editor of Delhi Noir, a critically acclaimed anthology of original fiction, and is on the advisory board of Wasafiri, a London-based journal of international literature. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut, and teaches at Wesleyan University. South Haven is his debut novel. Visit his website at www.hirshsawhney.com.

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