The Real Mr. Barkotoki



A young man is troubled by recurring dreams of visiting the mysterious Munin Barkotoki, ‘a God-fearing man’. Later, at a scrap dealer’s shop, when he accidentally unearths a book by the very same person, he is shocked and intrigued. The ‘man of his dreams’ happens to be very real, albeit deceased, and a famous Assamese writer and critic.

Determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, the young man teams up with his friend, Capt D., and Dr. Das, a psychologist, to piece together the identity of this reclusive, enigmatic figure. Through his hypnosis sessions with Dr. Das, and rifling through Barkotoki’s diaries and speeches, he attempts to decipher one of the brightest lights of Assamese literature. On the way he uncovers inspiring details from the young Barkotoki’s formative years, such as his fearless literary activism during British rule. He also discovers Barkotoki’s quirks, like his famous walk to the District Library in Guwahati at exactly the same time every day, and his incredibly bad handwriting, which editors and readers alike had a hard time deciphering.

And yet, each step that the young man takes leads to a dead end. Leaving him with no choice but to undertake a journey across time and space, with ghostly magistrates and flying cars. Distinctly illustrated in the vein of Joe Sacco’s Palestine, The Real Mr. Barkotoki is a trippy adventure and a visual treat. This graphic novel brings to life one of Assam’s best known and most mystifying literary figures in an entertaining noir-style mystery.

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