“Vivek Shanbhag is an Indian Chekhov.” —Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City
For readers of Akhil Sharma, Mohsin Hamid, and Teju Cole, a haunting novel about an upwardly mobile family splintered by success in rapidly changing India
“It’s true what they say—it’s not we who control money, it’s the money that controls us.”
In this masterful novel by the acclaimed Indian writer Vivek Shanbhag, a close-knit family is delivered from near-destitution to sudden wealth after the narrator’s uncle founds a successful spice company. As the narrator—a sensitive young man who is never named—his sister, his parents, and his uncle move from a cramped, ant-infested shack to a larger house and begin to grow accustomed to their newfound wealth, the family dynamics begin to shift. Allegiances and desires realign; marriages are arranged and begin to falter; and conflict brews ominously in the background. Things begin to become “ghachar ghochar”—a nonsense phrase that, to the narrator, comes to mean something entangled beyond repair. Told in clean, urgent prose, 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.