Nabarun Bhattacharya: Credit: Aranya Sen

Nabarun Bhattacharya

Nabarun Bhattacharya (1948–2014) was an Indian Bengali writer who was committed to a revolutionary and radical aesthetics. He was the only child of the acclaimed actor and playwright Bijon Bhattacharya and the writer and activist Mahashweta Devi. The author of a dozen major novels, the most famous of which is Harbart, he was also a poet.


Fiction by Nabarun Bhattacharya

Translated by Sunandini Banerjee

With a contribution by

Poor, poor, hard-luck Harbart Sarkar: born into a fancy Calcutta family but cursed from birth (his philandering movie director father is killed in a car crash and his mother dies soon after, when he’s still just a baby), he is taken as an orphan into his uncle’s house, only to fall further and further down the family totem pole. Despite good looks (“Hollywood-ish, Leslie Howard-ish)” and native talents, he is scorned by all but his kind aunt.…
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Harbart reads like Rainer Maria Rilke’s Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge set in Calcutta. Featuring a young man with an open channel to the dead who drinks and grieves to excess, it is a mosaic of manic and immersive episodes. It is a spinning drunken stumble through a city that feels menacingly sensual.

—Nate McNamara, * Lit Hub *
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