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Like its eponymous hero, Narbarun Bhattacharya's short, intense, deftly crafted novel, hail by critics as an off beat tour de force, is impossible to categorize. With its earthiness its deadpan wit its often case-history format and its sheer verbal panache Herbert cuts like knife through butter. Its novel and vibrant use of the uniquely Kolkata brand of vernacular almost reinvents the language. And somewhat miraculously this novella with its sense of impending doom coupled with its protagonist's native optimism emerges as the nearest things to a literary metaphor for what is crumbling city stands for and for the values it desperately clings to.

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Bengali / fiction / indian / Jyoti Panjwani / Nabarun Bhattacharya / translation /