Saturday, 20 August 2016

Book Review: Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbag.


Book: Ghachar Ghochar

Author: Vivek Shanbag

Translated By: Srinath Perur

Pages: 115

Read On: Hardback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: 'It's true what they say - it's not we who control money, it's the money that controls us. When there's only a little, it behaves meekly; when it grows, it becomes brash and has its way with us.'

From a cramped, ant-infested house to a spacious bungalow, a family finds itself making a transition in many ways. The narrator, a sensitive young man, is numbed by the swirl around him. All he can do is flee every day to an old-world cafe, where he seeks solace from an oracular waiter. As members of the family realign their equations and desires, new strands are knotted, others come apart, and conflict brews dangerously in the background.

Masterfully translated from the Kannada by Srinath Perur, Ghachar Ghochar is a suspenseful, playful and ultimately menacing story about the shifting consequences of success. 

General Thoughts: I am always looking to read more regional literature. And this one came highly recommended and there was so much buzz around, I just had to get it. 

Things I Liked: 

1. This is more a novella than a full fledged novel. I was kinda surprised when this came in the mail and was this skinny. But it was a good thing..it meant I could jump right into it and read it pretty much in one sitting. 

2. The writing was lovely. And even though it was translated, I didn't feel like it was stilted or lacking in any which way- something that sometimes sadly happens with translated fiction. The translator did a bang on job! 

3. For such a short read this books leaves an amazing impact. It manages to squeeze so much within it's 115 pages. 

4. I love stories of changing fortunes. If a book shows the changing fortune of a family or even an individual, I am all about it. Normally, this happens in one particular way---from up to down---a story of falling from grace or prosperity. A mansion in ruin..that sort of thing. But this book was the other way around. A family goes from living in virtual penury, in a rat invested home to the lap luxury. I loved. LOVED reading about their journey and how it changes them. 

5. I loved seeing how this family changed. As a whole and even on an individual level. And I found it very believable and real that not every one takes to wealth in the same way, even within the same family. 

6. I really liked reading about how the basic value system  (of this family) changes with a change of fortune. It was shown so well and so subtly. 

7. Money is important. The one making the money is even more important. I LOVED and really appreciated how is simple and irrefutable fact was shown throughout this book. The uncle...the main brain behind the business and success...was now the most important person in this household. His word was the last word. His opinion was the opinion that mattered and counted. This happens all the time and I found my self nodding along furiously when these bits came up in the book. 

8. The ENDING...it freaking blew my mind. BLEW it! I was lying in bed with some 10 pages left in this book and I was all ready to go to bed...and I was a little sleepy and BANG! The last 2 pages had me sit upright and gasp! OK may be not gasp but I did sit up re-read the last page and just collect my thoughts. 
I won't be spoiling anything here.
But if you've read this book, you know! 
That ending is golden. 
It is an open ending...so you are free to draw your own conclusions. 
Normally that is something I don't like. I like being told what happens for sure. But in this case it just works. 
It comes out of nowhere but it is so incredibly believable and just SO GOOD! 

Rating: 4/5 

I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it. It's short and quick and leaves you with so much to think about. 

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