Book review: Ghachar Ghochar

Book review: Ghachar Ghochar

Do you know how we all hear great things about some books and when we get our hands on them, they completely disappoint us and make us question our tastes? Well, that did not happen with Ghachar Ghochar.

I heard so many good things about this one and then (surprisingly?) I found it was all that and more. And I am more than happy to recommend a translated work from my part of the world. So here we go.

About the book

Ghachar Ghochar

Book Name: Ghachar Ghochar

Author: Vivek Shanbhag

Genre: Fiction – Drama, Literary, Translated work

Characters: The unnamed narrator, Anita, Malati, Appa, Amma and Chikappa

Setting: Karnataka, India

The plot

Ghachar Ghochar begins with the young narrator sitting at the Coffee House mulling over his life. He is particularly fond of a witty waiter Vincent with whom he shares the happenings of his household. His family consists of his older parents, elder sister Malati, his paternal Uncle and his newly wedded wife Anita.

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Their living situation, though a common practice among Asians, is more out of convenience and habit rather than out of love. But they were not always like this. Until a few years ago the family was close knitted. Though not affluent they shared the smallest joys with each other and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. 

When the father of the narrator (Appa) loses his employment, his uncle (Chikappa) had to start his own business venture to support of the family. This lead an ascent in their economic status which changes the family dynamics. Each member makes their choices, but how often they turn out to be right? 

My initial thoughts

Ghachar Ghochar means entangled and the title fits perfectly to the story. Aren’t we all tangled with the chaotic mess that our loved ones are? Even though the book is set in India, I am sure the plot will be relatable across the world.

I loved the characters that were real and raw. The unnamed narrator could be anyone among us and that is what makes Ghachar Ghochar personal and beautiful. If you love open ended plots, you are in for a treat!

Things that worked for me

  • I loved that every character has a grayer shade.
  • I think the simple narration and elegant writing style won me. 
  • The translator did a great job to retain the author’s style of writing.

Things that didn’t work for me

  • As much as I loved reading Ghachar Ghochar, I thought it was too short (is that even a negative thing?)
  • Ghachar Ghochar is not a plot oriented novella, so if you expect a lot of twists and turns you might be disappointed.


Ghachar Ghochar definitely is one of the top picks on my Asian reads ever. I am gonna look out for more translated works in the future. 

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Ghachar Ghochar

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Do you like translated works? How often do they satisfy you? Which is your favorite translated reads? Let us talk.