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City of Gold

Gillian Tindall
Date Published
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‘Like London, like Paris or New York or pre-war Alexandria, Bombay contains not just many different social worlds but whole solar systems of different societies moving separately and intricately over the same territory. Ever since its insignificant and hesitant beginnings it has acted as a draw for people of so many races and languages, Indian, Middle Eastern and European, that there is no one tongue in general use there. For a while the largest city east of Suez till you came to Tokyo, and the largest in the British Empire after London, Bombay has always just missed being a world capital.’

This is Gillian Tindall’s own description. Bombay (Mumbai) is indeed one of the great cities of the world and this book, first published in 1982, does full justice to it.

‘Fascinating. Gillian Tindall has brought the great city richly to life. It is a keenly perceptive account – at once loving and stringent.’ Colin Thubron.

‘A glowing evocation of a great exotic subject . . . A celebration of the city’ John Carey, Sunday Times

‘Her feeling for the past is not tinged with curry or sentimentality . . . her perceptions, visual and historical, are acute . . . a good an unusual choice as Bombay’s biographer’ Observer

‘Insatiably curious, novelist and historian, Gillian Tindall does not rest until she gets tot he origins of whatever interests her. Here she has focused on architecture and the British roots of the metropolis. She has accomplished the job admirably’ – New Statesman


Gillian Tindall is a historian and novelist. Among her many acclaimed books are City of Gold: The Biography of Bombay and Countries of the Mind: The Meaning of Place to Writers that are being reissued in Faber Finds. Her latest book is Footprints in Paris: A Few Streets, a Few Lives.

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