Listen to Indian author Akhil Sharma on the Diane Rehm program about how his novel “Family Life” blurs the lines between fiction and memoir and then read his thoughtful book about what it is to be the immigrant and the “normal one” in a family struggling to cope with a son and brother who has special needs. This is an amazing short but powerful read by a writer of considerable talent.
We meet young Ajay, in the mid- 1970s, as he is in Delhi awaiting news from his father in America when he and his older brother Birju and their mother can begin a new adventure in a America. Told with twist and turns, it is an immigrant’s story, one of deep emotions told from the point of view of a young child struggling to grow up in a new country and to make sense of his past and many possible futures. He lives in the shadow of his older brother Birju who becomes disabled. This leaves the parents and brother coping in their own ways with what fate has dealt them all. Certainly it is a tale of growing up with many stresses and keeping nimble to cope with what life may toss your way.
Recently chosen by Kirkus as Best Fiction of 2014.