Reading guide for Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag

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Ghachar Ghochar

by Vivek Shanbhag

Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag X
Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag
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  • Paperback:
    Feb 2017, 128 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. The narrator is a regular customer at Coffee House. What draws him there?
  2. What is your opinion of the narrator? Is he as hapless as he portrays himself to be? Why does he alone remain nameless?
  3. Why didn't the narrator's relationship with Chitra work out? Would he have married a woman like Anita if he had met her by chance rather than by arrangement?
  4. Why is Chikkappa so generous to the rest of the family? Does his behavior set the tone for the household?
  5. What was Chikkappa's relationship with Suhasini, do you think?
  6. Why is Appa ambivalent about the family's new wealth? If he were to become "ruinously entangled in some philanthropic enterprise" (p. 23), what might the rest of the family do to prevent his giving away his share of the business?
  7. Which members of the family would have been happier if Chikkappa hadn't opened Sona Masala? Is sudden wealth more a curse than a blessing?
  8. What is the significance of the ant infestation?
  9. At what point does the story begin to feel sinister?
  10. What role does Vincent, the Coffee House waiter, play in the novel? Why does the narrator choose to open his story by talking about him?
  11. Early on in the novel, the narrator thinks, "Words, after all, are nothing by themselves. They burst into meaning only in the minds they've entered" (p. 5). Discuss an instance in the novel that illustrates this.
  12. Is there anything more you wish you knew about any of the characters?
  13. Ghachar Ghochar is the first novel written in Kannada to be published in English in the United States. In what ways does the story Shanbhag tells feel foreign? In what ways does it feel universal?
  14. Vivek Shanbhag has been compared to Anton Chekhov. Are there other writers whose work this book is reminiscent of?
  15. Have you ever experienced a feeling of "ghachar ghochar" in your own life? Discuss.


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Penguin Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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