ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Disgrace of ‘Clandestine Migration’

'Mediterranean Graveyard'

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe by Romain Puertolas, translated by Sam Taylor, New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2015; pp 320, ₹1,387, hardcover.

Romain Puertolas’s The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe is about a journey of Ajatshatru Ogash Rathod. He is a man of many parts: a magician, conman, dedicated customer, liar, performer, celibate Hindu, aspiring writer, charmer of snakes and women. The novel is set in Europe and North Africa. The narrative begins in Paris, moves to London, Barcelona, Venice, Tripoli and finally back to Paris. Ajatshatru’s name is often misspelled by the non-Hindi/Sanskrit speakers, who address him in ways according to theirlingual comfort.

Ajatshatru, also known as Aja, is from Rajasthan. He is a professional entertainer and performs tricks and often deceives people. Gullible rural Indians see godly powers in his tricks. He “swallows retractable swords, eating broken glass made from zero-calorie sugar, stabbing his arms with fake needles, and a heap of other conjuring tricks” (p 10).

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