Drugs, money, sex, murder, organised crime, religion, investment banking, cyber space, exotic locations, from Brazil to Cambodia. Karan Bajaj’s latest novel, Johnny Gone Down, his second, has all the elements requisite for a potboiler. And it’s making news for being the pulp fiction novel of this summer with an initial print run of 50,000 copies! The author explains to Suman Tarafdar where this novel of a man fighting against himself germinates from. Excerpts:
Yes, I think Johnny Gone Down is a fundamentally different novel from the recent slew of novels by young writers or even my own Keep off the Grass or as it doesn’t deal with clichéd urban angst or the love-life complexities of the ‘boyz n grlz jst hangin’ out der in McDonaldz’! The fundamental conflict is more man against his very bizarre destiny vs man against himself in this novel.
As for the inspiration, I usually start with a big theme in mind and allow the story to work itself in my head for a while before I put pen to paper. The theme I was playing around with for Johnny Gone Down was around success and whether a stable, even-keeled life is better than a rich, interesting life with towering ups and abysmal lows. During this time, I was also backpacking for a year between jobs and traveled to some pretty interesting places and ended up meeting quite an odd assortment of people on the road and in youth hostels. Somewhere, I began to realise that no matter where I went, whether Cambodia or Brazil or Mongolia or India, there seemed to be more similarities than dissimilarities in people, feelings and ideas. Hence this incredible intercontinental journey of the protagonist began to fuse with the original theme.
Full interview here Financial Express