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

Poor, poor, hard-luck Herbert 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. Poor Herbert: so lovable but so little loved. 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.

        At twenty, however, he suddenly seems to possess the gift of speaking with the dead. Herbert is bathed in glory. From less than zero to starry heights—what an apotheosis. The wheel of fortune turns again, all too soon...

        Legendary, scathingly satiric, wildly energetic, deeply tender, Herbert is an Indian masterwork.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780811224734
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 06/25/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 588,610
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.20(d)

About the Author

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 Herbert, he was also a poet.

SUNANDINI BANERJEE is the chief editor and senior designer of Seagull Books.

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