Ghacher Ghocher, Vivek Shanbhag, 2013
This brief novel by an Indian author was handed to me by my cousin Fran when we arrived in Berkeley, and by the next morning, I had finished it. Slim, fast moving, delicately drawn, it is the story of an Indian family and its move from an ant-infested, tiny home supported by the father’s tea sales route to a large, richly furnished home supported by the uncle’s spice business. Unfortunately, the move required immoral and illegal action and undermined the delicate balance required by a family that lives in close quarters on the edge of poverty. When the narrator, the unnamed son, marries, his wife’s presence threatens to unsettle this delicate balance. When she fails to return from a week’s visit to her parents, the story turns very dark. An excellent novel.