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, nominated for Best Book in the regional Commonwealth Writers Prize, 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. Harry travels a fantastic, twisting trail in search of a woman, his best friend and perhaps lover, in a twisting tale of fate and the backwards/forwards of time.
"A fine, subtle look at the ancient myth of Rama and Sita. . . . Mathur's decidedly feminist take on the Rama myth is decidedly unconventional."--Calgary Herald
"A rich and multilayered story."--Georgia Straight
Praise for Once Upon an Elephant
"Mathur's novel is as funny as it is smart. Once Upon an Elephant is wry, sly, and perfectly suited to the tusk, er, task, at hand."--Toronto Star
"Whimsical. . . . The novel conjures up a cosmos of mirthful chaos. Mathur's debut is a comic celebration."--Vancouver Sun
"Epic, shrewd, funny, convincing, sexed-up, and full of a kind of glittering gravitas."--Quill & Quire
Ashok Mathur teaches critical studies at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver.