María Helga Guðmundsdóttir at The Quarterly Conversation:
For all their political fervor, the stories in The Walls of Delhi are concerned with human beings and their most quotidian preoccupations. Some of the collection’s most lyrical and intimate moments pivot on food or sex. In one scene, an erotic encounter between husband and wife on a riverbank seems to echo the play of the god Krishna with the gopis or cowherd girls, evoking a mythical space of eternal bliss amidst backbreaking toil. And the blushing giggle of a young man with a messy head of hair, his mouth full of food, is transformative to the woman who feeds him:
It was like the end of a lifesaving rope that dangled in front of the black hole of her hellish life. She decided to grab it and run away, not knowing whether it was out of love or from an intense desire to be free.
Prakash has a keen eye for the ridiculous and can find humor in the most unlikely of situations. Far from romanticizing his downtrodden protagonists, he has a wry appreciation for their human foibles as well as their oppressors’. The opening story centers on Ramnivas, a young man who works as a sweeper to provide for his wife and kids and keeps a teenage girlfriend on the side. After stumbling on a massive cache of black money hidden in the walls of an upscale gym, his family’s fortunes are transformed and his philandering revitalized; his newfound solvency secures everyone’s tacit acceptance.