List Price: $ 24.95
Save 40 % off List Price
A Free Man : A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi
Like Dave Eggers's Zeitoun and Alexander Masters's Stuart, this is a tour de force of narrative reportage.
Mohammed Ashraf studied biology, became a butcher, a tailor, and an electrician's apprentice; now he is a homeless day laborer in the heart of old Delhi. How did he end up this way? In an astonishing debut, Aman Sethi brings him and his indelible group of friends to life through their adventures and misfortunes in the Old Delhi Railway Station, the harrowing wards of a tuberculosis hospital, an illegal bar made of cardboard and plywood, and into Beggars Court and back onto the streets.
In a time of global economic strain, this is an unforgettable evocation of persistence in the face of poverty in one of the world's largest cities. Sethi recounts Ashraf's surprising life story with wit, candor, and verve, and A Free Man becomes a moving story of the many ways a man can be free.
Sethi, an award-winning journalist for The Hindu, delivers a moving and irrepressible work of narrative reporting that captures the lives-and voices-of the homeless laborers in the Bara Tooti Chowk in Old Delhi. The chowk is literally a labor market where every alleyway, lane, and dead end has a story. Sethi focuses on a homeless middle-aged house painter and construction worker, Mohammed Ashraf, who finds jobs by waiting in the early morning on Bari Tooti's main road. Before coming to Bari Tooti, Ashraf was a biology student, then a butcher, a tailor, and an electrician's apprentice. He once had a wife, a home, and two children, whom he hasn't seen in decades. Ashraf's life story unfolds through a series of vignettes as the author accompanies him and others to various haunts: Kaka's tea, the Old Delhi Railway Station, a secret illegal bar everyone knows made of "interlocking sheets" of cardboard and plywood, and the TB wards of the city hospital. Delhi is a frenzied city "splintering under the strain of fundamental urban reconfiguration," where 800,000 slum dwellers, including Ashraf, were violently displaced when their settlement was bulldozed. 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. Agent: David Godwin, David Godwin Associates. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
W. W. Norton & Company
October 21, 2012
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.