Hailed as a "supreme storyteller" (Philadelphia Inquirer) for his "cunning, dismaying and beautifully conceived" fiction (New York Times), Akhil Sharma is possessed of a narrative voice "as hypnotic as those found in the pages of Dostoyevsky" (The Nation). In his highly anticipated second novel, Family Life, he delivers a story of astonishing intensity and emotional precision.
We meet the Mishra family in Delhi in 1978, where eight-year-old Ajay and his older brother Birju play cricket in the streets, waiting for the day when their plane tickets will arrive and they and their mother can fly across the world and join their father in America. America to the Mishras is, indeed, 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. Pressing an elevator button and the elevator closing its doors and rising, they have a feeling of power at the fact that the elevator is obeying them. Life is extraordinary until tragedy strikes, leaving one brother severely brain-damaged and the other lost and virtually orphaned in a strange land. 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.
"Outstanding… Every page is alive and surprising, proof of [Sharma’s] huge, unique talent." (David Sedaris)
"Narrator Vikas Adam's skill with accents is considerable - when he reenacts dialogue, in particular, this recording dazzles. Characters become real, and the listener is fully engaged with the story. At the same time, there are long stretches wherein exposition may lull the listener into distraction; however, these observations, which contrast the Mishra family's new lives in America with their old lives in India, are integral to the story. Furthermore, the quietness of Adam's delivery makes the tragic turns of the plot even more affecting. This audiobook may not be for everyone, but the performance is solid." (AudioFile)
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Honest and touching
Very moving and honest story. Despite being a short book, I was able to bond with the characters and understood them. Being Indian myself, I was able to relate with the general attitudes and characters.
Clear diction, authentic accents, tone of voice very much in line with the sombre and honest mood of the story.
- Shantanu Sharma
A Moving Family Drama
- The Reading Date