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Family Lifeby Akhil Sharma
Synopses & Reviews
America to the newly immigrated Mishras is everything they could have imagined and more. When automatic glass doors open before them, they feel that surely they must have been mistaken for somebody important. Then tragedy strikes. One of the family’s two sons suffers an accident in a swimming pool. Ajay, the family’s younger son, prays to a God he envisions as Superman, longing to find his place amid the ruins of his family’s new life. Heart-wrenching and darkly funny, Family Life is a universal story of a boy torn between duty and his own survival.
"The immigrant experience has been documented in American literature since those first hardy souls landed at Plymouth, and as the immigrants keep coming, so too do their stories. Sharma (An Obedient Father), who acknowledges the autobiographical elements in his new novel, tells a simple but layered tale of assimilation and adaptation. The Mishras come to America in the late-1970s, the father first, in the wake of new U.S. immigration laws and the Indian Emergency, when the narrator, Ajay, is eight, and his brother Birju is 12. There are lovely scenes of their life in Delhi before they leave, the mother making wicks from the cotton in pill bottles, the parade of neighbors when their plane tickets to America arrive. Sharma captures the experience for Ajay of being transported to a different country: the thrill of limitless hot water flowing from a tap; the trauma of bullies at school; the magic of snow falling; watching Birju, the favored son, studying hours each day and spending entire weekends preparing for the entrance exam at the prestigious Bronx High School of Science. Then a terrible tragedy irreparably alters the family and their fortunes. Sharma skillfully uses this as another window into the Indian way of accepting and dealing with life. A loving portrait, both painful and honest." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Outstanding...Every page is alive and surprising, proof of [Sharma's] huge, unique talent."--David Sedaris
Named one of the Ten Best Books of 2014 by the and "Gorgeously tender at its core...beautiful, heartstopping... really blazes." --Sonali Deraniyagala,
Hailed as a "supreme storyteller" () for his "cunning, dismaying and beautifully conceived" fiction (), Akhil Sharma is possessed of a narrative voice "as hypnotic as those found in the pages of Dostoyevsky" (). In his highly anticipated second novel, , he delivers a story of astonishing intensity and emotional precision.
About the Author
Akhil Sharma is the author of An Obedient Father, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Best American Short Stories, and O. Henry Award Stories. A native of Delhi, he lives in New York City and is an assistant professor of English at Rutgers University, Newark.
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