Scavengers go through the garbage in the early morning hours in Calcutta, with British-era building in the background, photo: Carl Parkes

Review: When cities go out of print

Calcutta: Two Years in the City by Amit Chaudhuri Union Books, 320 pp, £16.99, February 2013, ISBN 9781908526311 “Without the transformative effect of the imagination”, writes Amit Chaudhuri, “decay is just decay, disrepair plain disrepair.” In his first work of non-fiction, Calcutta: Two years in the city, Chaudhuri evokes “whatever alchemy it is that changes urban dereliction into something compelling, perhaps…