emI can’t help but compare two excellent recent books because they have so much in common. Both (1) are almost exactly the same length, just slightly over 200 pages, (2) are about immigrant families from India, (3) families that are bravely facing the disability of one member in an alien new culture (4) with blackly comic results. One of them comes out in July from Penguin Originals – EM AND THE BIG HOOM by Jerry Pinto. I recommend it, but I’m going with the other one from Norton – FAMILY LIFE by Akhil Sharma. However, let me say that in a world where you read every book you wanted to read, the two pair perfectly with telling differences and heaps of lovely language in both, as each author confronts those difficulties and hurdles that families have to encounter together when they draw protectively around an injured member in that solidarity of blood that people feel for their parents and siblings.



by Akhil Sharma

Regular price $23.95

20% off at University Book Store

Our price $19.16




Little Ajay Mishra would like to have a conversation with God. He and his family have fled from India, where mother cooked extra at every meal for the cows that wandered the neighborhood. They’ve escaped to the wonders of America, where everybody has their own speedboat, stewardesses have to give you whatever you ask for, and hot dogs are made with dog meat. But in three terrible minutes their lives are turned into a nightmare.

Family Life is a sometimes tragic tale that is frequently laugh-out-loud funny. Author Akhil Sharma is a master of micro-observations: seeing snow for the first time, discovering cartoons on television, getting hot water from faucets and walking on carpeted floors.

Stranded in an alien culture, this feisty, opinionated family bravely embraces their disabled member in the face of soul-draining hardships. As Ajay makes his way through tormenting classmates and Indian miracle healers, the bumbling embarrassments of first love, a controlling mother and an alcoholic father, his story becomes the chronicle of the birth of a writer, transforming his family’s pain into literature.


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Hope you’ve all got a summer reading pile going – and you’d better work on it, because there are some big, delicious books lining up for the fall. Wishing you all health, time with your loved ones, and a good book nearby. – Nick