Hari Kunzru is a British novelist born in London in 1969. After his primary education at Bancroft’s School in Essex, he attended Wadham College to study English. He later obtained a degree in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Warwick. Kunzru began his career working as journalist for a variety of publications, including Wired UK, The Guardian, and The Daily Telegraph. He broke out onto the literary scene in 2003 with his book, The Impressionist, which received positive reviews from critics and performed well sales-wise. However, one of his more notable works to date is Gods Without Men, which was published in 2011.
The plot is infused with elements of magical realism and an ever-changing timeline is at the heart of Kunzru’s novel. As Ted Gioia explains in Conceptual Fiction, “Gods Without Men is a chronological jumble. A chapter set in 1942 is followed by a lengthy section that takes place 2009, which is followed in turn by diary entries from 1775. Kunzru demonstrates considerable virtuosity in changing narrative voice and prose style every few pages.” This unique style of storytelling epitomizes the literary genre, translit. Douglas Coupland of the New York Times defines translit as a genre that “collapses time and space as it seeks to generate narrative traction in the reader’s mind.”
Gods Without Men details the story of Jaz and Lisa Matharu, a couple who takes a roadtrip with their autistic son, Raj. Jaz is a prosperous mathematician at an investment bank and Lisa is an editor at a publishing company. Despite their promising careers and futures, life presents them with a new challenge: a mentally-challenged son. While the family of three are traveling to the Mojave Desert for vacation, they encounter all the stories of people who traveled that road before.
Hari Kunzru abandons traditional linear storytelling for a more complex plotline. The interconnected tales from past and present make for a story that transcends the boundaries of time and breaks the mold of a typical literary setting.