• Pallavi Aiyar – Punjabi Parmesan
  • Pallavi Aiyar – New Old World

When after several years in China, journalist Pallavi Aiyar moves to Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union, she discovers a Europe plagued by a financial crisis, and unsure of its place in a world where new Asian challengers are eroding its old and comfortable certainties. With a lively mix of memoir, reportage and analysis, Aiyar takes the reader on a romp across the continent as she meets workaholic Indian diamond merchants in Antwerp, upstart Chinese wine barons in Bordeaux, Sikh farmhands in the Italian countryside, and Indian engineers running offshore energy turbines in Belgium. Examining the diverse challenges the continent faces today—among them, bloated welfare states, the accommodation of Islam, the European ambitions of Indian and Chinese entrepreneurs, and the fissures that threaten to break up this union of diverse nations—Punjabi Parmesan/New Old World takes a panoramic look at Europe’s first-world crisis from a unique India–China perspective.

New Old World is the American Edition of Punjabi Parmesan published by St. Martins Press, 2015. Buy Book.


  • New Old World: An Indian Journalist Discovers the Changing Face of Europe by Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs

    This exceptionally engaging book...will offer any reader fresh insights into not-so-old Europe

  • An Asian View of Europe by Amitav Ghosh, amitavghosh.com

    The way Pallavi frames her project is characteristic, both in its modesty and its sly subversiveness...The confounding of expectations is a recurrent and refreshing theme in Pallavi’s narrative. ...One of the pleasures of Pallavi Aiyar’s Punjabi Parmesan  is that it addresses the pressing issues of contemporary Europe through a chorus of contrasting voices. Pallavi is a fine interviewer; she has an extraordinary knack for finding interesting people to talk to, on a wide range of subjects – the environment, inter-faith relations, immigration, the crisis of the Euro, the resilience of the German economy, the legacy of imperialism and so on. Her other great strength is her knowledge of India and China: her gift for comparison often leads to unexpected insights.

  • Punjabi Parmesan review by Prem Shankar Jha, Biblio

    It is difficult not to praise Pallavi Aiyar's latest book...try as I might, I cannot, in a short book review do, justice to the delicately delineated and easy conversational way in which Aiyar leads her readers through her subject. All of the themes she explores are deadly serious, but not for a moment does she allow them to weigh the reader down. Her book is a conversation with the reader in which she describes encounters, explores what she has been struck by, and arrives at conclusions with the help of a focussed reading on the subject.

  • Punjabi Parmesan review by Pankaj Mishra

    Turning her sharp gaze from China to Europe, Pallavi Aiyar showcases brilliantly the many advantages of broad-based experience and comparative analysis. Anyone interested in the ironies, contradictions and dilemmas of globalization should read it

  • Europe Through the Looking Glass by Nina Marytris, Los Angeles Review of Books

    (an) absorbing and enjoyable book...Through a series of elegant and thoughtful essays tinged with humor and wry comment, Aiyar takes the reader on a journey through Western Europe’s still affluent but increasingly discomfited heart..

  • Punjabi Parmesan: Book review by Anjuly Mathai, The Week

    Aiyar has the rare talent of honing a story, revealing it rather than reporting it.

  • New Old World (Punjabi Parmesan) Review by Sara Catterall, Shelf Awareness

    Aiyar is sharp, funny and knowledgeable. She brings an outsider's skepticism to the much-discussed problems of the European Union, and what she considers its declining global importance, leadership,  and economic strength."

  • As the Wall is Breached by Anvar Ali Khan, Outlook Magazine

    Aiyar seems to have the knack of being in the right place at the right time, resulting in the writing of the right book...with her elegant left-liberal worldview, honed over her years in India and China (and presumably buffed in the debating circles of Oxford), holds up a cruel mirror for Europe to look into, and I have no doubt the book will cause a frisson of indignation, all the way from London to Copenhagen.

  • Punjabi Parmesan: Review by Soutik Biswas Hindu Businessline

    Deftly blending reportage, analysis and memoir, Punjabi Parmesan is...a highly engaging book by a first-rate, energetic and perceptive journalist."

  • Punjabi Parmesan: Review by Peter Gordon, Asian Review of Books

    ...this atypical perspective that casts new light on the topics under discussion....well-researched and well-documented yet with Aiyar’s..easy-to-read combination of dialogue, characterization, personal memoir and reaction, interleaved with explanation and analysis....Aiyar has an uncommon ability to analyze and synthesize the non-Western perspective. In addition, while her intended audience is India, her articulation of this perspective is framed in ways that make it entirely accessible to Western readers.

  • New Old World (Punjabi Parmesan) review by Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

    I’ve been waiting for a book like this to be written, and now it exists. It’s fun, and full of good humor.

  • New Old World (Punjabi Parmesan) review by Publisher's Weekly

    [Aiyar] brings a fresh, thought-provoking perspective to Europe's woes. Her trenchant and often humorous conversations with immigrants, entrepreneurs, politicians, and diplomats illuminate the paradoxes and inconsistencies of Europe's approach to multiculturalism... Through her travels around the continent, Aiyar is able to humanize those who are most frequently represented in the media as alarming statistics

  • New Old World (Punjabi Parmesan) review by Kirkus Reviews

    Fresh insight into how Europeans might learn valuable lessons from developing countries.