The Harvard Square Book Circle
discusses Vivek Shanbhag's Ghachar Ghochar: A Novel
September 25, 2017
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
The Harvard Square Book Circle, our in-store book club, discusses Vivek Shanbhag's critically acclaimed novel Ghachar Ghochar, translated by Srinath Perur.
About Ghachar Ghochar: A Novel
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.
"Within the tight confines of a hundred pages or so, Shanbhag presents as densely layered a social vision of Bangalore as Edith Wharton did of New York in The House of Mirth. . . He's one of those special writers who can bring a fully realized world to life in a few pages...The tense fun of reading this vivid, fretful story lies in watching the main characters grab hold of what they think will be rescue ropes, but instead turn out to be slip knots.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR
“Great Indian novels…tend towards large tomes, written in English. Now, however, the arrival of a new work has shaken up the status quo: Vivek Shanbhag’s gripping Ghachar Ghochar. This slim volume…packs a powerful punch, both in terms of the precision of its portrait of one Bangalore-based family, and, by extension, what this tells us about modern India....Shanbhag is the real deal, this gem of a novel resounding with chilling truths.” —The Independent (UK)
“Masterful…This stunning Bangalore-set family drama underlines the necessity of reading beyond our borders. . . Ghachar Ghochar is both fascinatingly different from much Indian writing in English, and provides a masterclass in crafting, particularly on the power of leaving things unsaid.” —Deborah Smith, The Guardian
"Ghachar Ghochar introduces us to a master." —Lorin Stein, The Paris Review
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
The Harvard Square Book Circle is Harvard Book Store's monthly book discussion group. We read a wide range of contemporary and classic literature, both fiction and nonfiction. The Book Circle typically meets the last Monday of the month, at 7pm in the bookstore. Meetings last about one hour. Registration is not required and no commitment is necessary. We always welcome new participants.
If you are interested in receiving the Book Circle's e-mail list, which provides updates and reminders about upcoming meetings, send us a message at email@example.com.
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