Ghachar Ghochar

Ghachar Ghochar

Book - 2017
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"A modern classic." -- The New York Times Book Review

A young man's close-knit family is nearly destitute when his uncle founds a successful spice company, changing their fortunes overnight. As they move from a cramped, ant-infested shack to a larger house on the other side of Bangalore, and try to adjust to a new way of life, the family dynamic begins to shift. Allegiances realign; marriages are arranged and begin to falter; and conflict brews ominously in the background. Things become "ghachar ghochar"--a nonsense phrase uttered by one meaning something tangled beyond repair, a knot that can't be untied.

Elegantly written and punctuated by moments of unexpected warmth and humor, Ghachar Ghochar is a quietly enthralling, deeply unsettling novel about the shifting meanings--and consequences--of financial gain in contemporary India.

"A classic tale of wealth and moral ruin." -- The New Yorker

" Ghachar Ghochar introduces us to a master." -- The Paris Review

Named a Best Book of the Year by the Guardian, Globe and Mail, and Publishers Weekly

Longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award
Publisher: New York, New York : Penguin Books, 2017.
ISBN: 9780143111689
Branch Call Number: FIC SANAB
Characteristics: 119 pages
Additional Contributors: Perur, Srinath


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Nov 26, 2017

A delicate story of a poor family in southern India and the impact of affluence on their lives.

Sep 13, 2017

Simple but strong story telling; smooth style - thanks to an excellent translation from the not commonly known Kannada language. The "rags to riches" may not have the positive effect on a close family. An excellent little book without moralizing.

Aug 18, 2017

Delightful little story.

Jul 01, 2017

I love getting to know different cultures through books. Especially those describing family matters and relationships within those cultures. This book is beautifully written and full of details that give you a glimpse into an Indian family private life. This book is very wise but not in a patronizing by rather subtle and reflective way. The only thing is that I didn't understand how it's ended...well, and it ended quite abruptly as well, hence 4 stars only. If you read the book and understood what happened to Anita, please do share your thoughts here. I'll come back to read.

May 17, 2017

The first novel translated into English from the Southern Indian language of Kannada, Ghachar Ghochar is short enough to read in one setting but memorable long afterwards. The narrator is a passive young man whose ideas about money and family boundaries differ wildly from those of his middle-class wife, Anita, but the story is really about his family, how their experience of communal poverty followed by sudden wealth (due to an uncle's "spice" business) has bonded them together, for better or (more likely) worse. It's about the private languages of families, the way they talk and fight in words only they can understand, as well as the perils of new money. The book is full of brief aphorisms on family life that are both caustic and painfully true, and probably has even deeper resonance for South Asian readers or those from families who have gone through the traumas and transformations of immigration.

Mar 22, 2017

Wow! A small novel (118 pages), but an engrossing story about the dynamics amongst south Indian family members who work hard and arrive to wealth in their lives. But does wealth always bring happiness and comfort? Well... This story is told from the perspective of a young man who watches the changes and tensions this situation brings to his family and himself. Concise and brilliant writing. Penguin Publishing, please translate more of Mr. Shanbhag's work! Highly recommended.

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