Published by Hachette india, March 2013
"I finally decided I had to get out of London after my mother-in-law walked in on me wanking. It was four days after Jane's memorial service, and Debbie had stayed on in the house because she wanted to be near her daughter's things a while longer... She rushed back out with a loud cry; I followed shortly after (once I'd pulled up my tracksuit bottoms) and found her in her room where all I could think to say was to make clear that I had been looking solely at pictures of Jane. Which was true."
Each of these stories encounters its characters at moments when they are floundering, some in the wake of crisis, others on the verge of major discovery. Each one asks in a different situation – what do people find when they are utterly lost?
Clever, dark, absurd and poignant, and always irreverently funny, Rajorshi Chakraborti is an original storyteller with a quietly assured voice.
A few of the stories have appeared in magazines and on websites, including Tehelka, the Sunday Star-Times, The Edinburgh Review, The Istanbul Review, Sport and Turbine. You can read The Good Boy, A Good Dry-Cleaner is Worth a Story, Half an Hour and The Last Time I Tried to Leave Home... online.
The opening story of the collection, Knock, Knock, is also available to read here, by browsing through the e-book version on Amazon. You can also buy the Kindle version. The paperback version is available here.
An interview on Lost Men, available to read here.
REVIEWS OF LOST MEN:
"Rajorshi Chakraborti’s fifth book is an intriguing addition to his eclectic bibliography and places him alongside the masters of the weird and the wonderful. [...]
"He revels in the kind of noir-ish realism which works brilliantly for a Murakami or an Auster, while sharing their predilection for the surreal, especially when said surrealism is tucked away into the interstices of his characters' lives.
"Since his dazzling debut, Chakraborti has embarked on one of the most interesting career trajectories seen in recent times." - The Sunday Guardian, India.
“'When did I go to sleep and where had I awoken?' wonders a narrator in this short story collection, 'In an askew world where everything was familiar but nothing unfolded as I foresaw it?' It’s a question that might come from any of Rajorshi Chakraborti’s protagonists, going back to his remarkable debut novel Or the Day Seizes You. That book’s tone of escalating paranoia in a dreamscape was reminiscent of Kazuo Ishiguro’s great, surreal The Unconsoled, about a man who (as Pico Iyer put it) is 'lost in a foreign place and unable to read the signs.'
"Chakraborti, among the most distinctive Indian English novelists of his generation, has often revisited this theme. Lost Men is full of vignettes about lives that have spun out of control. [...]
"Once you acquire a taste for their very particular universe – with its haunting glimpses of the inner spaces of people unsure of their place in the world, confounded by delays, detours and bad luck – it is hard to leave it." - Time Out.
"Knock, Knock is well-chosen as the introductory story of Rajorshi Chakraborti’s new collection, Lost Men. If you’ve never read him before, be warned, it can make you gasp for breath and recalibrate your ideas of the form. Almost all of the subsequent stories [...] work the same way, as dreamlike as a first kiss and as unforgettable.
"If all authors have a certain métier, Chakraborti’s must be his ability to lead the reader by the hand to the edge of a maelstrom—and then to let go of that hand. It’s a fine skill, served well by his deceptively light prose but, more than that, by an intuitive perception of human frailty. [...] His protagonists step off a bus, outside a hotel, into a memory and are swallowed up, as it were, in a meta-universe where everything is just slightly off-kilter and more magnetic and mysterious—and therefore more open to manipulation and interpretation—than all they have left behind." - Livemint.
"In each of the stories, Chakraborti stalks his characters like a shadow in the night, cornering them at crossroads, in the aftermath of a disaster or on the path to redemption and presents us with the choices they make, all the while withholding judgement.
"A conversation had, a journey undertaken, a chance missed, a past relived, a loved one lost, a secret withheld, a choice made; it doesn’t matter, Chakraborti takes the commonplace and weaves it into a tale of intrigue that is as mystifying as it is thoughtful." - Postnoon.
"If you like writings that linger in your head long after you’ve read them and, possibly, drive you to connect the missing dots in their narratives — think Paul Auster, think Chuck Palahniuk — Lost Men is a good bet for you." - DNA (Daily News and Analysis) India.
"Rajorshi Chakraborti, well known for his much-acclaimed debut novel Or the Day Seizes You, has always impressed his readers with his deliberate choice of departing from the usual tropes that one comes across in Indian writing in English.
"His interest in delving into the uncommon and untravelled zones can be noticed in his novels Derangements and Balloonists. With Lost Men, Chakraborti steps in as a short story writer for the first time, with stories about men lost in different ways [...]
"Chakraborti ought to be appreciated for his capability of taking the commonplace and creating intriguing and thoughtful stories. The multi-layered tales, mostly of desolation, grief and love are weaved with such uncommon twists and turns that the reader cannot help but sympathise with the ‘lost men’." - Deccan Herald.
"Rajorshi Chakraborti’s book [...] is actually a medley of pieces whose common anchor might be the short-story but each of them sail in different directions, stretching the genre into different shapes, making it do at times scathing work. [...]
"Chakraborti’s characters [...] are lost, their confidence is laced with anxiety, their energy is always on the edge of paranoia, they act despite themselves, without clarity, always catching up, getting caught in the spirals of events they thought were of their own making [...] Just when you imagine that the Indian middle class is in control of its future – economic, affective or social – that its boats are aligned with the current, you read Chakraborti’s book and realize that this figure is inordinately exhausted, that the future it keeps on going on about is only a caustic mirage. This is the political revelation at the heart of the literary style of the absurd. Chakraborti’s Lost Men marks the moment when the Indian middle class, strictly speaking, lost the plot." - Northeast Review.