Books: The Afflictions by Vikram Paralkar

A whimsical introspection of the humancondition, filled with nuance and wit
( December 9, 2018, New Delhi, Sri LankaGuardian) The Encyclopedia Medicine 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. Amalady 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 CentralLibrary is tangled up with the humours and inclinations of the writers and their times. The Afflictions is the brilliant first novel byphysician–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.

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 Pythagoreanprose … Borgesian  in style. Thesentences are polished till they gleam … The Afflictions is not only the delicious fruit (hilarious at times) of an overflowingimagination, but is also filled with erudition. Paralkar  trades in philosophy, history, anthropologyand theology, among other disciplines … This is a book to devour with relish.’ – Guillermo Belcore, La Prensa


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