HarperCollins India is proud to announce a bold, unique experiment with form and style
A whimsical introspection of the human condition, filled with nuance and wit
The Encyclopaedia Medicinae at the Central Library is the repository of a dizzying array of ailments, and Máximo is thrilled to get a peek at the obscure afflictions:
An amnesia that causes everyone you’ve ever met to forget you exist, while you remain painfully aware of your history. A malady that erodes the link between cause and effect: one man commits a murder, another carries the guilt and a third is sentenced for it. A condition that causes your body to imitate death – stopping your heart, cooling your blood. Will the fit pass before they bury you, or after? As Máximo soon discovers, the pursuit of knowledge at the Central Library is tangled up with the humours and inclinations of the writers and their times. The Afflictions is the brilliant first novel by physician–scientist Vikram Paralkar, whose The Wounds of the Dead garnered much critical acclaim.
Veiled in a pseudo-medieval setting and a list of surreal illnesses, the author presents a relatable version of what truly ails us all.
Vikram Paralkar is a physician–scientist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA. He was born and raised in Mumbai, India. His book The Wounds of the Dead was published by HarperCollins India in 2017. The Afflictions has been translated into Spanish and Italian.
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PB | Fiction | 232 pp | Rs 399
Praise for The Afflictions
‘[A] darkly whimsical meditation on human discontents … Paralkar’s tragicomic imagination, sly sendup of pseudo-Latinate medical prose and fine sense of irony make for an arresting read.’ – Kirkus Reviews
‘The beauty of The Afflictions comes from the fact that it is an unabashedly entertaining narrative that revels in weirdness and impossibility while also packing a much more profound layer in which Paralkar explores the frailty, failures, and absurdity of human nature.’ – Gabino Iglesias, Atticus Review
‘[B]ehind the pseudo-medieval setting and the Calvino-style diction is a meditation on the symbolic resonances of the word “affliction”.’ – Brenda Wang, Believer magazine
‘[M]arks the birth of a fiction writer who must be followed closely.’ – Selva Florence Manzur, Uno
‘The whole book has a deeply Borgesian air.’ – Mercedes Halfon, Pagina/12
‘Beautifully narrated, with Pythagorean prose … Borgesian in style. The sentences are polished till they gleam … The Afflictions is not only the delicious fruit (hilarious at times) of an overflowing imagination, but is also filled with erudition. Paralkar trades in philosophy, history, anthropology and theology, among other disciplines … This is a book to devour with relish.’ – Guillermo Belcore, La Prensa