Faber Book Club 01: Family Life by Akhil Sharma

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This month, Faber Book Club recommends . . .

Family Life
by Akhil Sharma

‘A devastating novel loosely based on a family tragedy that hit the Sharma family when they moved out to America from India in the early 1980s. It is an incredibly funny, completely raw and unforgettable novel.’ Lee Brackstone, Editor at Faber & Faber

For eight-year-old Ajay and his older brother Birju, life in Dehli in the late 1970s follows a comfortable, predictable routine: bathing on the roof, queuing for milk, playing cricket in the street. Yet everything changes when their father finds a job in America – a land of carpets and elevators, swimsuits and hot water on tap. Life is exciting for the two brothers as they adjust to prosperity, girls and 24-hour TV, until one hot, sultry day when everything falls apart. Darkly comic, Family Life is a story of a boy torn between duty and survival amid the ruins of everything he once knew.

Family Life was awarded the Folio Prize in 2015, and was chosen by William Dalrymple, Rachel Cooke and Kate Kellaway for the Observer’s ‘Holiday Reads’ recommendations, and by Vogue and the Financial Times as a summer read. Fans include David Sedaris, Jonathan Franzen, Gary Shteyngart, Ann Packer, Kiran Desai, Edmund White, Nell Freudenberger, Petina Gappah and Mohsin Hamid.

Buy your copy here.


Read a charming Q&A interview with Akhil Sharma in the New Yorker here.

Praise for Family Life:

‘An extraordinary coming of age tale in the shadow of family tragedy . . . funny, painful, and deeply moving – do not miss.’ Alice O’Keefe, Book of the Month, Bookseller

Family Life will cut your heart to pieces but it will also make you rejoice. The language, the humour, the sophistication, the empathy, the insight – all signal a new kind of literature about families and the bonds with which they hold us tight. Akhil Sharma’s place among the best literary novelists of his generation is likewise secure.’ Gary Shteyngart


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