Book Review - Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag and Srinath Perur

"Wealth shouldn't strike suddenly like a visitation, but instead grow gradually like a tree." - Ghachar Ghochar
Shruti bhutani photography

Ghachar Ghochar

by Vivek Shanbhag and Srinath Perur

Book Review

Ghachar Ghochar is a story of a family that sees a sudden shift in their societal and financial status, and consequently, a change in their lifestyle as well as attitude towards life. It is a story that depicts the ideologies of an Indian lower middle-class family, who go berserk with the new-found wealth.

The book Ghachar Ghochar is indeed just that – Ghachar Ghochar; which doesn’t even have a definite meaning to it and can almost be termed as gibberish. But growing up in an Indian household that majorly spoke Hindi (or Punjabi), and having seen a lot of Bollywood movies, I can relate to this idiom and phrase. I don’t know the origin of the phrase, but the closest meaning to this would be – something that is tangled or messed up.

The book was an easy read, I finished it in one go. The story is simple yet engaging and fun, with brilliant writing. I enjoyed the author’s straightforward storytelling, with such a gripping plot. The author has managed to meticulously capture the essence of poverty as well as affluence in his writing, and has reproduced the dynamics of an Indian family to precision. Although the book had me twisted and questioning out loud at the end of it (in a good way), but I wish I could speak to the author and get his perspective on it as well. I haven’t read such an enjoyable book by an Indian author in a long time. I usually stay clear of fictions, but this book makes me want to read more of them.

There are some stories that may not make sense but still manages to pull you in, this was one of them. I know I will be reading this story again and again in due course. The book was originally written in Kannada, a regional Indian language, and then translated in English; which is what surprises me about the book. Once deciphered, many books lose their meaning or readability, but the writer/ translator of this book has especially done a remarkable job at keeping the story engaging. I also like that the story may be regional, but the storytelling itself caters to a large audience globally. As always, the photographer (and, book worm) in me loves appreciating the creativity and effort that goes in the designing of the cover of the book. The cover of Ghachar Ghochar impressed me with the unique photography, and the concept that is simple, quirky, and reflects the theme of the story impeccably.

"Words after all are nothing by themselves. They burst into meaning only in the minds they've entered." - Ghachar Ghochar

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt the storytelling impressed me. I was swayed not only by the author’s imagination, but also by Mr. Perur’s brilliant translation. The story is simple and entertaining; it is in true sense unconventional and has a noteworthy concept, that will leave you scratching your head and wanting more at the same time. I highly recommend this book for all those who are looking for a remarkable story, intelligent writing, or just an entertaining short story to read on a vacation.

About The Author

Vivek Shanbhag is an Indian author who has written eight fictional books and two plays, in the regional South Indian language of Kannada. Ghachar Ghochar is the first book to be translated in English, and has been received well all over the world.

Srinath Perur, the incredible translator of Ghachar Ghochar, is a travel writer who also writes on topics of science among other things. He is the author of a travel book called – If it’s Monday, it must be Madurai, which I look forward to reading soon.

Genre Fiction
Price Rs 224 (Paperback), Rs 399 (Hardcover, bought at a discount on Amazon)
Pages 124 pages
Format Hardcover
Publisher Harper Perennial

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Love & Peace


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