The invitation to the launch of Pico Iyer’s Abandon arrived today: may it be better than recent Delhi launches, hopes the Babu devoutly. Ram Jethmalani’s biography was unveiled by a somewhat bewildered V S Naipaul, who is reported to have taken in Delhi’s glitterati and said that he was expecting to see more, well, authors. Ardashir Vakil’s reading from One Day was interrupted by the persistent ringing of cellphones: something about a Shakira ringtone doesn’t blend that well with writerly (amazing how everyone’s using “writerly” as an adjective these days) prose. Abandon is the kind of book that gets sent to genuine authors rather than critics for review: Pankaj Mishra, author of The Romantics had his say. So did Amitava Kumar, whose most recent book is Bombay-London-New York.

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