What is needed [now] is a kind of novel that attends to how society is being organized by certain vested interests; a novel that goes to the heart—rather, goes for the jugular—of the economic system itself. Harbart is prophetic of this tradition to come.

The beloved cult novel—about a young man who makes a business of relaying messages from the dead—now in a sparkling English translation.

Harbart

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. Cheated of his inheritance, living on the roof in cast-off clothing, he pines for love, but all is woe: his own nephews beat him up. Poor Harbart: so lovable but so little loved. At twenty, however, he suddenly seems to possess the gift of speaking with the dead. Suddenly Harbart is bathed in glory. From less than zero to starry heights—what an apotheosis. But then the wheel of fortune turns again, all too soon … Legendary, scathingly satiric, wildly energetic, deeply tender, Harbart is an Indian masterwork.

Editions: PaperbackEbook

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Paperback (published June 25, 2019)

ISBN
9780811224734
Price US
13.95
Trim Size
5x8"
Page Count
112pp

Ebook

ISBN
9780811224741

What is needed [now] is a kind of novel that attends to how society is being organized by certain vested interests; a novel that goes to the heart—rather, goes for the jugular—of the economic system itself. Harbart is prophetic of this tradition to come.

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 *