Ghachar Ghochar is a quietly enthralling, deeply unsettling novel written and punctuated by moments of unexpected warmth and humor. 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, 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 of the characters that comes to mean something tangled beyond repair, a knot that can’t be untied.
Vivek Shanbhag is the author of eight works of fiction and two plays, all of which have been published to wide acclaim in the South Indian language Kannada. He was a Fall 2016 resident at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Ghachar Ghochar is the first of his books to appear in English. It is translated to Malayalam by DC Books under the same title. Sudhakaran Ramanthali translated the title to Malayalam.