Delhi Noir, Akashic 2009
Cover photo: Madhu Kapparath
Delhi Noir, HarperIndia 2010
Cover image: Still from BA Pass, based on Mohan Sikka's "Railway Aunty"
Delhi Noir, Asphalte 2012
Delhi Noir (editor, Hirsh Sawhney)
Akashic Books (NYC), 2009
HarperIndia (Delhi), 2010
Asphalte éditions (Paris), 2012
About the Book
In the early 1990s, the Indian government, working in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund, began liberalizing the country's economy, reducing tariffs and throwing open India's doors to foreign direct investment. Delhi Noir gauges the psychological and social impact of these monumental changes. The first Asian entry into Akashic's award-winning Noir Series, Delhi Noir is a world of confounding religious violence, greedy corporate dons, and vigilante rickshaw drivers. Taken together, the book's fourteen original stories provide an alternative map to the city, one that unveils its sordid corners and beguiling conversations, a Delhi that you might be encountering for the first time.
Featuring 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.
Praise for Delhi Noir
"[Delhi Noir] will register simultaneously as a shock, an education and an 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
"The city unfolds like a fever dream... Hirsh Sawhney's anthology resounds with the everyday conflict of this metropolis—the uncomfortable rub between extremes of poverty and wealth, ancient religious strife and corporate imperialism." —The Guardian
"Finally, we have a book of stories set in Delhi that does not focus on the romance of its bygone times, its ruins or its tryst with the Raj... [Delhi Noir is] interesting and diverse, stretching to dark dystopian brooding as well as happy-ending escapist fantasies... [T]his is an en-grossing and enjoyable encounter with the darker side of Delhi. —Outlook Traveller
"In reading these stories...one feels that the net has been cut, as the writing veers into something more disturbing. There is a rawness in the writers' engagement with brutality... [This] is a collection which, in all its macabre desolation, conjures a world capital and makes an argument about the effects of extreme inequality and injustice in a gargantuan city." —TLS
[A]ll the writers have produced well-plotted, well-crafted tales. I was engaged by the editor's selection of stories that explore the diverse physical and cultural geographies which make up the city. —Pratik Kanjilal, Hindustan Times
"Hirsh Sawnhey's intelligent introductory essay is more than enough reason to buy this fine collection of short fiction... Those who like to live a little dangerously... will love Siddharth Chowdhury's crazed and profane trip into life in a Delhi university dorm." —Globe and Mail
"The award-winning attempts of writers like Aravind Adiga, who underlined the ugliness that shadows the India Rising story, find an echo in this collection of stories. Hirsh Sawhney has brought together Indian and Indian-origin writers to tell hard-hitting tales about Delhi's underbelly... The stories are true to the spirit of this ancient city—now aspiring to be a world city, which can in turn be malicious , unforgiving and ruthless..." —Times of India
"...[T]his fearless crew enlist the motifs of hard-boiled crime to capture what editor Hirsh Sawhney calls the "inequality and cruelty" that disfigures the capital's gallop for growth. From the old-city labyrinth of Paharganj to the nouveau-riche suburb of Green Park and the spooky wastelands of the Ridge, encounters with crooked cops who steal, beat and kill bring into grim or farcical focus the uncivil lines of cash and clout that divide heroes from zeroes in the Indian boom." —Boyd Tonkin, Independent
"[V]icious and poignant... Delhi Noir is an invigorating and often moving collection. And amidst all that violence and depravity, readers might detect some undertones of optimism, thanks to the muckraking journalists who inhabit many of these stories. Their city may suffer from institutional corruption and systemic inequality, but it's also awash in newspapers. In Delhi, writers matter, and the contributors to this volume know it." —Rain Taxi
"Delhi Noir has no lack of true-to-life characters getting twisted, mangled and discarded. Which is why, like the proverbial train wreck, even as you cringe, you won't be able to look away." —Terry Hong, San Francisco Chronicle
"Delhi Noir... delivers great noir short stories... The writing is consistently good in these stories, the characters unique and unforgettable and the settings evoked subtly but thoroughly." —Nina Sankovitch, Read All Day
"Bleak, you bet. Fascinating, no question." —New York Daily News
"Ever since Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children exploded onto the literary stage in 1981, Bombay has been the Indian city that has captured the imagination of most writers... And now, it seems it is Delhi's turn to have its place in the sun. A spate of books now point to a firm trend which make Delhi its muse, the most prominent being Delhi Noir..." —Indian Express
"The latest offering in Akashic's international noir series takes readers to the dangerous and alluring capital city of India... [These stories] retain a strong sense of placethe reader never loses sight of the contemporary Indian setting. The collection is also notable for polished writing and strongly plotted stories, making it one of the most consistent in [Akashic's award-winning noir] series." —Booklist
Delhi Noir in the News
Delhi Noir contributor Uday Parkash is shortlisted for the 2013 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature for Walls of Delhi, which originally appeared as a short story in Delhi Noir.
Mohan Sikka's Delhi Noir story "Railway Aunty" is adapted into an award-winning feature film, BA Pass, directed by Ajay Bahl.
Amitava Kumar lists Delhi Noir as a " 2010 Book of the Year" in the Indian Express.
Delhi Noir contributor Siddharth Chowdhury is shortlisted for the 2010 Man Asian Prize for Day Scholar, a portion of which originally appeared in Delhi Noir.
Tehelka interviews Delhi Noir editor Hirsh Sawhney.
Time out Delhi interviews Delhi Noir editor Hirsh Sawhney.
Wisconsin Publish Radio's Here On Earth interviews Delhi Noir editor Hirsh Sawhney for a segment entitled "Tracking the Global Gumshoe".
The New York Post designates Delhi Noir "Required Reading."
The San Francisco Cronicle designates Delhi Noir a "Top Shelf Recommended Read."