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An intriguing novel set in India and New Zealand; the past and the present . . .

When family suddenly becomes your greatest challenge, mystery, rediscovery.

As children in Calcutta, Ashim and Abhay made a small mistake that split their family forever. Thirty years later, Ashim has re-entered his brother's life, with blame and retribution on his mind. It seems nothing short of smashing Abhay's happy home will make good the damage from the past.

At least, this is what Abhay and his wife Lena are certain is happening. A brother has travelled all the way from small-town India to New Zealand bearing ancient — and false — grudges, and with the implacable objective of blowing up every part of his younger brother's life. Reconciliation was just a Trojan horse.

But is Ashim really the villain he appears to be, or is there a method to his havoc?


In his fifth novel, Indian-born, New Zealand-based author Rajorshi Chakraborti skilfully amps up the tension, showing how easily fear can shove reason out the window, even in smart, seemingly self-aware people. . . . It's an absorbing, gripping read that is ultimately about the importance of family and the emotional labour required to create deep, honest connections.

Catherine Robertson, NZ Listener

"Exile," philosopher Edward Said wrote, "is strangely compelling 'to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home." Migrant New Zealand author Rajorshi Chakraborti's new novel, The Man Who Would Not See, beautifully examines this "unhealable rift" between the "self" separated from its home. . . . If this is a novel about dislocation from event and homeland, it's also a book which wonderfully synergises the disparate perspectives of its diverse cast. . . . Thematically, the narrative and its conflicting voices produce another rich element to The Man Who Would Not See. For these aspects expand concepts of migration beyond the physical and environmental to the philosophical, familial and spiritual. . . . The Man Who Would Not See is a compelling book about the dislocation of belonging, geography, culture and, ultimately, memory.

Dominion Post Weekend, Siobhan Harvey

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Howrah, November 1988

I often think to myself that so many different films could share a single title: The Last Hours of Their Lives. Only the characters never know this, and hurtle along with a truly moving degree of unawareness and vigour, doing both significant and trivial things as usual in the full expectation of living forever.

My brother and I are with our dad at Howrah station to meet our grandmother off the train, but have learnt upon getting here that it’s running two hours late. Which is certainly not enough time to return home, and Baba doesn’t think it’s even worth heading back as far as Esplanade or Park Street for some kind of snack or treat. It will probably take half an hour getting there, crawling along Brabourne Road, and then we’ll have to come back. Let’s see what there is to eat at the station instead.

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Book Clubs
Short Story Club - 8 March

Read the story being discussed on Jesse Mulligan’s show on Radio New Zealand on 8 March 2018.


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