A Life of Adventure and Delight

Akhil Sharma

‘He is truly the Chekhov of our time.’ – Yiyun Li

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Date Published
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In these elegant, unsparing and intimate stories, the Folio Prize-winning author, Akhil Sharma, exposes the paradoxes, ironies and harmonies that characterise modern life. Marrying the minimalism of Chekhov and Carver with a flair for dark comedy, A Life of Adventure and Delight is a collection full of wisdom, wonder and reflection.

Critic Reviews

These beautiful, funny, intelligent short stories are told with such apparent simplicity ... The simplicity is Sharma’s effort to get past all the temptations of falsity, of false style and ready-made ideas. His writing shines its clean light, never mercilessly or voyeuristically, on these characters winding round and round inside the muddled opacity of their lives and their thoughts. They, as well as the writer, struggle for the truth ... Yet their vision is comic too, in the broadest, Chekhovian sense: robust and warm and ironic, not overwrought. The genius lies in the detail, in the gritty comical solidity of real things.

Tessa Hadley, The Guardian
Critic Reviews

This slippery tone - at once amused and critical, resigned and outraged - infuses each of these eight haunting, revelatory stories ... bracingly direct, unassuming language ... boldly forthright and probing, [he] brings a keen cultural awareness to each of these stories ... It's a testament to the author's sensitive eye for human foibles that these characters are not only palatable but relatable, and this feat of empathy makes the implicit critique sting even more ... Perceptive, humane and pointed ...

Adrian Tomine, New York Times Book Review
Critic Reviews

Sharma’s ample talent and focus on technical literary achievement are on full display here…
A keen Hemingway student, he has achieved commendable lucidity in his prose, making a conscious effort to free the narrative from weighty metaphors or descriptions of sense, smell or feel. In fact, he seems to be writing from a distance, as if wielding a very long nib, with each sentence a clean, measured stroke. That enables him to keep an even, if at times impersonal, voice that neither rises in anger nor quivers in sadness. Of the eight tales in this collection, “Surrounded by Sleep” stands out for its irony, its understated sadness and long shadows.

Financial Times
Critic Reviews

Elegantly written, vivid and eye-openingly authentic.

Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

The characters in Akhil Sharma’s wonderful, melancholy, funny collection of short stories are floundering: lost, lonely, at the mercy of their own emotions and their experiences of a world that is difficult to read and open to misinterpretation. Caught between cultures, and an awkward mixture of arrogance and vulnerability, they attempt to negotiate a way through, their soft corners continually caught on the sharp edges of reality.

Daily Mail
Critic Reviews

He’s been described as ‘the Chekhov of our time’, so expectations for Akhil Sharma’s new collection of short stories, A Life of Adventure and Delight, were high indeed. And he doesn’t disappoint, with eight beautifully sleek, minimally written but emotionally shattering tales – dealing with the paradoxes, ironies and harmonies of modern life. A must.

Sunday Telegraph, Stella Loves

Akhil Sharma was born in Delhi in India and emigrated to the USA in 1979. His stories have been published in The New Yorker and in Atlantic Monthly, and have been included in The Best American Short Stories and O. Henry Prize Collections. His first novel, An Obedient Father, won the 2001 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. He was named one of…

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