Delhi Noir book launch at Rubin Museum of Art, NYC, Wednesday 6/10/09, 7 p.m., $12

The book, edited by Hirsh Sawhney, sounds interesting based on the description:

An evening of dark and despairing stories set in the legendary Indian capital, featuring contributing writers Meera Nair and Hirsh Sawney and author Pete Hamill. Sawhney is also editor of this collection of short stories, written by some of India's finest writers, which will be available for purchase at the event well before it hits shelves on August 1. Additional contributors are Irwin Allan Sealy, Omair Ahmad, Radhika Jha, Ruchir Joshi, Nalinaksha Bhattacharya, Siddharth Chowdhury, Mohan Sikka, Palash K. Mehrotra, Hartosh Singh Bal, Hirsh Sawhney, Tabish Khair, Uday Prakash, and Manjula Padmanabhan.

The eyes of the world are gazing at India—the world's largest democracy—but the books you read about this Asian giant only show part of the picture. Delhi Noir offers bone-chilling, mesmerizing takes on the country's chaotic capital, a city where opulence and poverty are constantly clashing; where the old-world and the information age wage a constant battle.

Continuing Akashic Books' acclaimed "Noir" series, Delhi Noir's fifteen original stories are written by some of India's best contemporary writers. They include veteran authors, who have appeared on the Booker Prize short list, as well as budding geniuses, who children will be reading in future English classrooms. Delhi Noir is India uncut, the one you're missing out on because mainstream publishing houses and glossy magazines can't stomach it.

I don't know whether it will live up to the advertising, given that this market niche is due and it would be very easy to simply turn it into an anti- version of exactly what it is allegedly filling the gaps for (see: Partha Chatterjee on Indian Nationalism).  If I wasn't so lazy, I would write something myself.  I will say that I am glad this is an edited collection of Indian writers which has a goal of bringing lesser known writers in 'The West' to light.  If I had to read or hear what one more NRI thinks of 'India' rather than someone with a slightly deeper perspective, I think I would go completely menta- oh wait, that's what I do.

Anyway, what caught my eye in the e-mail I got was that Ajay Naidu will be reading at the event.  You may remember him from such educational films as Office Space, though the publicist has chosen to highlight some of his other films in the e-mail ad I received for the eventt.  Being a philistine, I have not heard of them, nor of the other actor performing a reading, Rita Wolf.  

If you show up early, you can get something called 'Himalayan Happy Hour' and a tour of the museum.  My advice is to find a way to go for free - $12 is not spendy for something like this, but it is overpriced, imo (see above: philistine).

By: on 6 Jun 2009