Book Review, Books, Uncategorized

Book Review – Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag

Although I was aware of the existence of this book—I had seen it mentioned in a few articles on Facebook—it was only after a suggestion by Raman Shrestha sir, owner of Rachna Books, the local bookstore at Gangtok that I visit often, that I decided to try it out. The blurb doesn’t betray much about the story, so when I began reading the book, I had virtually no idea of what lay in store for me.

By the end of the first few pages, though, I was immersed in the story. Although the language is simple, it is laced by a unique grace and elegance. It flows so naturally; there is no pretense and effort seen in most commercial and even some literary reads. The narration is brilliant and classy. Although almost the entire story is “told” by the narrator, betraying the show-don’t-tell rule, this being a short novella, probably this was the best way to fit the story and show everyone’s perspective. Nevertheless, the scenes that are reminisced are never left incomplete or rushed. Every emotion, every feeling of the narrator, is told in satisfying detail. The humor is wonderful throughout. I even laughed out loud in several places; the wittiness of the author is admirable. This type of classy situational yet black comedy is rare in Indian fiction. I loved it.
The characterization is exceptional. The shades of gray in every character are painted with commendable expertise. I could relate with each and every one of them. They are so genuine that they bear scary resemblance with people whom I’ve encountered in real life. The adorable helplessness of the narrator is also portrayed so beautifully. I really felt for him.

The editing, as expected from a big publisher like HarperCollins, is top-notch. Although I tried a lot to locate grammatical or punctuation errors—it has sadly become a bad habit now—I couldn’t find even a single one in this book. It felt amazing to go through such a well-manicured novel.

The ending is also perfect for a mystical book like this. It is open-ended, leaving several questions unanswered, but it is still strangely satisfying, leaving you wanting for more. For the whole day after reading the book, the ending and the several possibilities that could have transpired kept haunting me. I must thank Raman sir for recommending such a wonderful book to me. This book has got an award, and deservedly so. 4.8 stars from my side.



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