A Study of Rahul Bhattacharya’s The Sly Company of People who Care

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Postmodernism is the umbrella term used to denote the contemporary happenings. Primarily it is the period soon after post world war II worldwide. Secondly, the effect created by the war on human beings and their behavior. Third, its impact on human artifacts including art, literature, culture etc. Its impact on literature particularly finds expression in novels. The novels of this period are named ‘metafiction’ by Linda Hutcheon (1998) as they carry ‘meta-narratives’ rather than ‘grand narratives’. These fragmented narratives are caused by various types, one such type is the bricolage or mixture of genre. Eclecticism is the supposed best mode of finding solution to the contemporary issues. It is choosing the best from new and available sources as well. Rather than manufacturing individually, getting best parts of thing and assembling to get an assorted best out product is in trend. This can otherwise be called a compilation of fragments. Likewise in writing novel new mixtures are being experimented and turns out to be successful. In Indian writing in English Vikram Seth’s Golden Gate (1986), is a mixture of poetry and novel. It won Sahitya Akademi Award. This mixture can otherwise be called a bricolage. Sarnath Banerjee’s graphic novels too are an outcome of posotmodern bricolage. Rahul Bhattacharya’s The Sly Company of People who Care (2011) fuses travelogue and fiction. As the blurb says: it is “A deft synthesis of travelogue and Bildungsroman, by turns antic and introspective …so satisfying” (Wall Street Journal). This mixture of fragmentary sensation is achieved in this novel. It is a perfect mixture of reality and verse. The narrator is a sports reporter who spends a year off in Guyana. It presents a land which is materially...

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...othered a child, they fall in love with each other, celebrate their consummation of love, indulge in ‘hurtsmanship’ and depart. The main cause of the breakup of their relationship is the unreliability. What this traveler wanted is a physical companion and this girl wanted somebody to spend for her and an escape from Guyana. The novel carries unabashed narration of sex as in Arundhati Roy’s God of Small Things. Jan’s mother Savitri turned Anglican, and lived with the man who converted her. In the first part of the narration it is a travelogue and in the second part it is a fiction. But it is hard to label it as a pure form of fiction.

Works Cited

Bhattacharya, Rahul. The Sly Company of the People who Care. New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2012. Print.
Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory and Fiction. Newyork and London: Routledge, 1998. Print.

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