About the Book: A Free Man
Stunning-Katherine Boo's Beyond the Beautiful Forevers genre. The author is a star of non-fiction writing/reportage.
In this landmark work of reportage, Aman Sethi sets out to understand the life of Mohammad Ashraf, a daily-wage worker in Delhi's Bara Tooti Chowk. Spending the greater part of five years in 'the largely empty space between the backpacker haven of Paharganj and picturesque Chandni Chowk', where daily-wage transactions take place, he learns, over alcohol, tea and ganja, the story of Ashraf's life.
Bringing labour into the narrative of the city, Sethi chronicles the minutiae that make up the lives of the labourers who are building Delhi: from the boiled eggs, sweet tea, varieties of raw alcohol that can quickly nullify a day's earnings, secret pockets stitched into clothes, and unconventional banking arrangements to the vulnerability of the labourers to the kidney mafia and their survival in a network of systems that should serve but mostly alienates. The vignettes come in asides to the running conversations with Ashraf, throwing light on the lives of countless invisible men.
A Free Man gives us the lens to view a contemporary transformation. Deeply insightful and compulsively readable, it is a humane, intimate and compelling account of an individual and a group of people who are most often explained away in a statistic.
About the Author: Aman Sethi
Aman Sethi was born in Bombay in 1983. He studied chemistry in Delhi, and journalism in Chennai and New York. He is currently the Chhattisgarh correspondent for The Hindu. This is his first book.
'Funny, poignant, and deeply moving, A Free Man is an extraordinary vignette into an extraordinary life'- Siddharta Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies
'Stunning. It reminds me of that Victorian masterpiece of investigative journalism, Henry Mayhew's London Labour and London Poor. Aman Sethi 'gets' modern India better than any other journalist I know. Not only is he a remarkable reporter and storyteller, but he possesses a novelist's ear for language, sense of the absurd, and perfect pitch. I'm bowled over, totally'- Sylvia Nasar, Author of A Beautiful Mind
'Keenly observed with both head and heart, A Free Man showcases the qualities that make Aman Sethi the fine reporter that he is'- Arundhati Roy
'Few writers have the will to discover what Aman Sethi has. Even fewer can express it with such tender magnificence ?.. a stunning achievement'- Rana Dasgupta
A deeply moving, funny, and brilliantly written account from one of India's most original new voices'- Katherine Boo, author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers
'A Free Man is a brilliant capturing of the language and bloodstream of a city. Aman Sethi has made a book that's remarkable in its voice and evocation'- Michael Ondaatje, author of The Cat's Table
'A Free Man is a beautiful work of journalism, sympathetic and graceful. The author follows, and progressively befriends, a homeless day laborer in Delhi. What starts as classic ethnography becomes a gripping story, and ends as a homage to a lost friend'- Esther Duflo, author of Poor Economics
'With A Free Man, Aman Sethi comes to the forefront of an extraordinary new generation of Indian nonfiction writers. His compassion and humor is matched by a fierce determination to tell the stories of ordinary Indians, too often forgotten in the scramble for the spoils of the economic boom'- Hari Kunzru, author of Gods Without Men
'Funny and disturbing'- Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things
'A Free Man stands out also for pushing the boundaries of these very traditions and breaking new ground in speaking of work and workers'- Hindu
'Ashraf's voice-acerbic, bombastic, and philosophical-makes for wonderful reading, and Sethi's remarkable prose and impeccable sense of timing renders his subjects with pathos and humor'- David Godwin, Publishers Weekly
'A compelling and powerful read ?.. one of the great city biographies'- Business Standard
'Breaks fresh ground ?.. Sethi's reportorial integrity in writing about this inner no-man's land makes this book truly original ?.. the most humane work of journalism I have read this year'- Mint
'Written with great skill, humour and empathy ?.. A book to be read'- Indian Express
'Big, both on form and substance ?.. gripping vignettes'- ibnlive.com
'A Free Man brings alive those spaces of the city that we last saw in 1960s Bollywood films ?.. The central character, Ashraf, is very much in the heart of Delhi. He is the cosmopolitan Dilliwallah'- Sunday Guardian
|Book:||A Free Man|
|Publisher:||Vintage / Random House India|
|Number of Pages:||240|
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