Paperback review: Calcutta, Two Years in the City, By Amit Chaudhuri


Amit Chaudhuri's lament for the city of his birth is also an emotional and intellectual response to modernity, the notion of progress that for him is "something that was never new".

It's the reason why he goes to great lengths to purchase a discarded "french window"; it's a city that has become "an imaginary city" as its language has declined and become marginalised, and what it means to be Bengali has undergone such a huge transformation. A city once full of revolutionary artists, it is now the "city of parents" which he is reluctant to leave. Chaudhuri weaves and spins through his recollections and observations of this place with a welcome seriousness and intellectual depth, aware that he is both a product of this problematic city as well as a response to it.