Heart-wrenching and darkly comic, this Folio Prize-winning novel from the author of An Obedient Father is the beautifully told story of a boy torn between duty and survival.
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WINNER OF THE 2016 INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD
WINNER OF THE FOLIO PRIZE 2015
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.
In his outstanding follow up to An Obedient Father, Akhil Sharma writes the book on love, duty, family and what it means to become American. Every page is alive and surprising. Proof of his huge, unique talent.
Deeply unnerving and gorgeously tender at its core.
Sharma's plain style, its gaps and fissures and mighty sense of lack, is both proof of the inability of words to render grief and a demonstration that they can do exactly that. Family Life breaks all those rules to do with writing fiction: Sharma's simple words tell in order that they might show.
A huge achievement.
To use expressions like 'extraordinarily moving' or 'brilliantly observed' to describe this book is to do it a disservice, because here is a novel that seems to call for its own language of praise. Maybe it's enough to say that Akhil Sharma's Family Life is an immigrant story like no other: funny and dark, unrelenting and, above all, true - in the pure way that only the rarest novel can achieve.
[A] delicate and often moving work of palliative poetics.
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