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Family Life Hardcover – 1 May 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (1 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571314260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571314263
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 153,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

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. (David Sedaris)

Deeply unnerving and gorgeously tender at its core. (Sonali Deraniyagala New York Times Book Review)

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. (Kirsty Gunn Guardian)

A huge achievement. (Fiammetta Rocco The Economist)

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. (Nell Freudenberger)

[A] delicate and often moving work of palliative poetics. (Sukhdev Sandhu The Observer)

Family Life will cut your heart to pieces but it will also make you rejoice. The language, the humor, 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)

[A] hard-earned and impressive result. (Randy Boyagoda Financial Times)

Family Life is a terse, devastating account of growing up as a brilliant outsider in American culture. It is a nearly perfect novel. (Edmund White)

[A] totally candid and unpretentious voice. (Sunday Times)

Sharma is a rare master at charting the frailties and failures, the cruelties and rages, the altering moods and contradictions, whims and perversities of a tragic cast of characters. But this most unsentimental writer, with his skull and bones honesty, leaves the reader, finally and surprisingly, moved. (Kiran Desai)

Worth the wait: a wonderful novel by an excellent writer. (Mohsin Hamid)

Book Description

Heart-wrenching and darkly comic, Akhil Sharma's Family Life - the 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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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 Mar. 2015
Format: Hardcover
This slender novel not only hits home - it has also hit a home run. Akhil Sharma's tragi-comedy has recently been awarded the Folio prize for excellence in writing. It has been fourteen years since Akhil Sharma's debut, An Obedient Father. The answer as to why it has taken so long for his second book to reach us is perhaps contained in its semi-autobiographical pages.

When Ajay's accountant father sends airline tickets for his wife and two sons to join him in America, their whole Delhi neighbourhood comes out to celebrate the family's good fortune. Ajay is eight and can't quite believe this is really happening. As many an immigrant experience story has shown, the Mishras' new life in 'the land of opportunity' is a challenging one for them to navigate. But it is a devastating accident that changes everything more fundamentally for the Mishra family - and for Sharma's readers.

This is a deeply moving, funny, tragic, absorbing and brave account with an engagingly honest narrator. The author compels the reader to examine some of life's darker questions by leaving much unsaid and demonstrates here that less really can be more. A novel of 'distilled complexity' and 'deceptive simplicity' said the Folio judges. I agree.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Josephine.mc G. on 22 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
loved the stark honesty the humanity and great life affirming qualities you feel you know and love this author and his family . when you get to the last page you are sad there is no more
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book in two days. I was captivated to learn how this family would cope with their misfortune after such a time in their lives of great hopes of a future in a new land. I felt humbled by the way that the lives of all the individuals involved were changed forever, Akhil tried so hard to pretend that his life could not be changed by this tragedy. trying to find a girl friend was so amusing. what a wonderful ending, I am now ready to read another book by this inspiring story teller./
Thankyou Mr Sharma.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 29 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A brilliant autobiographical novel about an Indian family's move to the USA. This is a moving, sometimes funny, often sad book which is an excellent example of brevity being very effective.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the most touching books I've read in recent times. Akhil Sharma does not ask for sympathy, yet he draws it out of you and tears your heart as he conveys the loneliness, hopelessness and despair of the family's situation, and how a little boy must give up his childhood in order to adjust to circumstances that life has thrust upon him. Powerful and heartbreaking.
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By ChristophFischerBooks TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 May 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
“Family Life” by Akhil Sharma is a beautiful and bitter sweet story. Immigration life in the 1970s US and family tragedy are well teamed together as main themes to make for a rich and emotional read. A great voice, likeable and with a fascinating perspective, the story only suffered for me from maybe a somewhat abrupt ending.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In some ways found this a difficult read having worked with handicapped children and how the family life is affected by the constant care of the ill person .However I do think this book was written in a way that made the situation real and understandable from my point of view .
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A moving book about an Indian family that moves to the States and then suffers a series of misfortunes in The Land of the Free that would fell an ox. The ending is a bit strange and not totally satisfying, hence the four stars instead of five.
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