Author: Manohar Shyam Joshi
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Robert A Hueckstedt
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780143067962
Harihar Datt Tiwari, better known as Hariya Hercules because of the bicycle he rides, is unflappable. An infinitely patient man, Hariya spends all his free time attending to his blind, infirm, chronically constipated father Girvan Datt Tiwari, who, before being afflicted with chronic bad luck, was a pillar of society. So when his father dies, Hariya, and everyone in the community, is stunned.
Girvan Datt-ji leaves behind a trunk containing some jewellery and a clutch of pornographic pictures in which he is himself an active, enthusiastic participant. In the trunk, Hariya also finds a letter to his father from Lama Rigyang Cho of Lahaul-Spiti. The letter describes a curse Girvan has brought upon the Tiwari family by stealing the trunk from the deity of Goomalling, a mythical place somewhere in the Himalayas. Ever the dutiful son, Hariya goes looking for Goomalling to return the cursed object and mysteriously vanishes.
After Hariya’s exit from the scene, the story of his journey, his motives and his perplexity becomes communal property and soon there are as many versions as there are people. But as the narrator tries to piece these accounts together, they continually shift and change, creating a dark, uncertain world of hearsay and half-truths. And Hariya becomes variously a comic, tragic and, to many, even a noble figure.
Translated into English for the first time, The Perplexity of Hariya Hercules establishes Manohar Shyam Joshi as one of the most outstanding writers of modern Hindi literature.