Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
|Print List Price:||£7.99|
Save £2.96 (37%)
Family Life Kindle Edition
Customers who bought this item also bought
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I had 'Family Life' on my Amazon wishlist for a long time, anticipating something equally special. Sadly, 'Family Life' will inevitably suffer from sitting in the shadow of 'An Obedient Father'. It's a solid, well-written and interesting book that tackles difficult topics but it lacks the oomph of its predecessor. In the notes after the book finishes, Sharma pays tribute to the editor who took him for lunch each year to 'celebrate' another year late with his submission. He eventually turned it in NINE years beyond the deadline. The end when it comes reads as if he rushed it before the next annual deadline - after 200+ pages of detail and introspection, it 'phts' out like a wet firework.
An Indian family move to the USA, filled with the American Dream and all starts well. Only when a freak accident damages a family member, pushing that person into a zombie-like half-life and the rest of the family into a loving drudgery of care, does the dream go bad. As readers we're left wondering how people can suffer and love SO much, and whether death would have been better for all concerned. We see how the stress of their new life pulls the family apart, attracts freaks and weirdos and turns them into outsiders, set apart by their tragedy.
I enjoyed the book - if it's possible to 'enjoy' something so sad - and I'll continue to read anything else that Sharma rights, but I fear he'll live his career in the shadow of 'An Obedient Father'.
After writing an earlier version of this review, I did a bit of googling and was shocked to learn that the story is broadly autobiographical and that Sharma's own life closely mirrors that of his protagonist. I think this explains why it took so long to write, why it lacks the brutality of his first novel perhaps in the interests of protecting his family from too much intrusion. In the book keeping up appearances, hiding the trauma, pretending the father isn't a drunk, all take on great importance. With such a family, it must be very hard to draw the line between honesty and hurt feelings. I have greater respect for the author's personal challenges - but I still stand by the three star rating. It's good but not great and I shouldn't change my rating because of a greater understanding of his circumstances.
I hope that getting 'Family Life' finished will allow Sharma to unblock his writing mojo and get him back to writing fantastic fiction again.
Thankyou Mr Sharma.
It's a story that I could identify with - an immigrant family, poor, from India, is brought over to America by their father. Two sons - the elder fits in more easily, excels, makes his parents proud. The younger always in his sibling's shadow. The first half tells the tale of their immigration and the period of them settling in and the boys starting school.
The second half suddenly kicks into a new gear as something happens that changes the whole family's life forever. I don't feel this is a spoiler, as the main reviews mention what happens, but an accident leaves Ajay's older brother Birju brain-damaged. This second half felt like a different book to me in many ways. All the cultural differences and implications I'd enjoyed reading about in the first half became a story about a family coping with disability, though for me the ways they coped didn't feel at al realistic - as a parent, I don't know if I would have taken the same route as Ajay's family.
It's an interesting and emotive story, with some very real-feeling characters in the Mishra family, as each copes in a different way, and Ajay comes to the fore to take his successful brother's place as the hope for the family's future. Though I didn't really like where the story ultimately took him, but that's just my own personal feeling about his eventual career path.
I also preferred Ajay's voice as a boy - the scenes in India as he prepares to emigrate and shares his feelings with his friends, and his first days in America trying to fit in, this voice I liked more than the mostly-grown Ajay, he's very well-narrated as a boy, quite like a Scout Finch.
It's a short read, and one that will make you think - what would YOU do if this happened in your family? I felt very sad at the end of the story, realising what the Mishras had gone through over the course of their lives, what they'd left behind and replaced it with, the fragility of life, though I also felt it missed out on making more of a point about disability and the fact that Birju has no quality of life.
One for book groups especially, but an interesting read about the immigrant experience and living with disability in the family.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews