Finally joining their father in America, Ajay and Birju enjoy their new, extraordinary life until tragedy strikes, leaving one brother incapacitated and the other practically orphaned in this strange land in the second novel from the author of An Obedient Father. 30,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)
Finally joining their father in America, Ajay and Birju enjoy their new, extraordinary life until tragedy strikes, leaving one brother incapacitated and the other practically orphaned in this strange land. - (Baker & Taylor)
Named one of the Ten Best Books of 2014 by the New York Times Book Review and New York Magazine"Gorgeously tender at its core…beautiful, heartstopping…Family Life really blazes." —Sonali Deraniyagala, New York Times Book Review - (WW Norton)
Known for his "cunning, dismaying and beautifully conceived" fiction (New York Times), Akhil Sharma delivers a story of astonishing intensity and emotional precision.Growing up in Delhi in 1978, eight-year-old Ajay Mishra and his older brother Birju play cricket on the streets, eagerly waiting for the day they can join their father in America. America to the Mishras is, indeed, everything they could have imagined and more—until tragedy strikes. Young Ajay prays to a God he envisions as Superman, searching for direction 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. - (WW Norton)
*Starred Review* If the first rule of strong writing is, show, don't tell (and it is), Sharma is a grand master, a black belt, an Olympic champion. Via the spare, guileless voice of protagonist Ajay Mishra, we travel the entire 7,000-mile journey from New Delhi to New York in his shoes as his family—father, mother, brother Birju, and he—arrives and settles in America. There is the joyous, even hopeful dispensing of household goods and favorite toys that can't make the plane trip. The surprised delight of reading the exotic ingredients on the labels of canned goods in American supermarkets. The breathless anticipation of Birju's acceptance into a prestigious prep school. Then, after Birju suffers a tragic accident, the suctioning from their lives of all that hope, joy, delight, and anticipation. This is not just the double-whammy smack of reality á la strangers in a strange land. It is a multiple-whammy, full-body smackdown that ramps up the bizarreness of their new world by adding tragic, harrowing circumstances. As extreme as the family's misfortunes become, Sharma's seemingly effortless prose transcends any disbelief, and his characters and their experiences will linger in the mind's recesses long after the last page is read. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews
Here's another book regarded as top of the April heap by its publisher. PEN/Hemingway Award winner Sharma, who made Granta's Best Young American Novelists 2 list, crafts the story of the newly immigrated Mishras, in thrall to America until their son suffers a terrible accident.
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Library Journal Reviews
The Mishra family has a harder time than most adjusting to a new life in America in the 1970s. Then, shortly after their arrival from India, older son Birju is hopelessly injured after a dive into a swimming pool goes wrong. Younger son Ajay grows up watching his mother and father become totally absorbed with caring for his brother. His father turns to alcohol; his mother heroically tries to cope but is ground down by her troubles and consumed by anger. Sharma writes as if he knows the subject from the inside out (which he does), and we feel both sympathy and embarrassment for Ajay growing up in an alien culture and awkwardly trying to fit in with other kids at school. By sheer force of will, Ajay grows up to become a successful adult. The one drawback is that the last few brief chapters feel rushed after the more deliberate pace of the rest of the novel, which leaves readers wanting to know more. VERDICT This brave and honest work offers an unsentimental look at growing up and overcoming adversity when family life is very difficult indeed. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/13.]—Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA
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