The Man Who Would Not See by Rajorshi Chakraborti (Penguin, 2018), 335 pp., $38
Rajorshi Chakraborti is an essayist, novelist and short-story writer with an international reputation. He grew up in Calcutta and Mumbai and has lived, studied and worked in Canada, England and Scotland. He now lives in Wellington, where The Man Who Would Not See is mostly set. It’s his fifth novel.
Inside the book glow review snippets of Chakraborti’s previous fiction. The words metafiction, surrealism, Murakami (twice), noir-ish realism, cinematic, metaphysic and good storytelling all come up. This time he has opted for domestic realism. The prologue is set in India when the principle narrator, Abhay, was nine. Abhay tells the story of how he and his eleven-year-old half-brother, Ashim, got lost doing something they shouldn’t have and had to sleep out overnight. This nocturnal disappearance was the last straw as far as the adults were concerned. The elder half-brother was officially declared a bad influence and shipped off to his grandmother’s house to finish his schooling in another state, never to return. As the sole child in the bosom of his parents’ affection, Abhay flourished. He later travelled abroad to study and be a writer, while Ashim stayed in India and got a job. The once inseparable brothers fell out of contact. [Read more…]