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The Short, Happy Life of Harry Kumar

The Short, Happy Life of Harry Kumar

By Ashok Mathur
Categories: BIPOC, Asian Literature, Fiction
Paperback : 9781551521138, 224 pages, 2001


Ashok Mathur's debut novel, Once Upon an Elephant, was a hilarious murder mystery steeped in Hindu mythology and starring elephant-headed Hindu deity Ganesh.
The Short, Happy Life of Harry Kumar continues Mathur's playful jaunt through mythology, this time blending the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, with the geography of Canada and Australia. Harry Kumar is an unlikely hero who finds himself vaulted into a globe-trotting quest to rescue his closest friend and confidant who's been kidnapped by a mysterious villain. With his travelling companion, a somewhat high-strung dog named Hanuman, Harry becomes embroiled in the odd politics that govern our world--and his own history. On the move, Harry's fantastic, twisting trail takes him to BC's Gulf Islands, Toronto's Islands--and to islands beyond--all in search of a woman, his best friend and perhaps lover, in a twisting tale of fate and the backwardsand forwards of time.
The Short, Happy Life of Harry Kumar explores the world in the context of islands, prisons, and the retelling of stories from the distant and not-too-distant past.
Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Fiction Prize (Canada-Caribbean section).


  • Short-listed, Commonwealth Writers Prize 2001


The narrative has an exuberance and breadth . . . Mathur possesses a comic touch that is deft, light, and dry.

-Quill & Quire

- Quill & Quire