The journal Civil Lines was conceived in the 1990s to publish the best new Indian writing in English. The first issue (1994) soon garnered a cult readership with works by writers like Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Ramachandra Guha and I. Allan Sealy. Claiming the magazine’s irregularity itself as a guarantee of quality, Civil Lines continued issues erratically. It encouraged a new wave of Indian English writers and laid the ground for, among others, Ruchir Joshi, Siddhartha Deb, Suketu Mehta, Amitava Kumar, and Manjula Padmanabhan, who went on to become established writers Ramachandra Guha’s first brilliant essay, a five-finger exercise in literary anthropology which appeared in the inaugural issue, andAmitav Ghosh’s reflective essay on the Indian practice of the short story as well as a wonderfully fluent translation of one of Tagore’s most famous tales, Kshudhita Pashan (The Hunger of Stones). This volume, edited by Rukun Advani (one of the four original editors),brings together the finest essays, stories, and poems in the first five issues of Civil Lines, all of which are now out of print and hard tocome by. For anyone interested in the finest recent Indian writing in English, this is the book to possess.