Family Life

Family Life

Family Life In Family Life Akhil Sharma delivers a story of astonishing intensity and emotional precision We meet the Mishra family in Delhi in where eight year old Ajay and his older brother Birju play cr

  • Title: Family Life
  • Author: Akhil Sharma
  • ISBN: 9780571314263
  • Page: 194
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In Family Life, Akhil Sharma 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 tIn Family Life, Akhil Sharma 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 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.

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    So glad to see this made the New York Times Top 10 of 2014. Thanks to and W.W. Norton for advance copy. Akhil Sharma's "Family Life" is a beautifully controlled autobiographical novel. I couldn’t shake the feeling from the very beginning that something magnificent was going to happen. Granted, a tweet by the publisher stating, “The end is going to make your jaw drop”, was partially responsible for this. Though it’s the true story of a family that immigrated from India to the United Stat [...]

    I received this book through the Giveaway. Upon receiving the book I became very excited to read it after seeing the glowing review blurbs on the back of the book. But, after completing the book, I ended up really disappointed. I can't say I agree with any of the glowing endorsements. I found this book extremely boring. The book is very short, generally it would take me about 2-3 days to read a book of this length, but it took me over a week. I just had no desire to keep reading. The writing wa [...]

    Bleak, bitter, harsh, unsparing, a precise delineation of a private hell. You want to know what life is like for a recently immigrated to America family of Indians when the older teenage brother has a catastrophic accident? Look no further. This is strictly all from the compressed, repressed, suppressed, raging on the inside, passing exams on the outside point of view of Ajay, who in 200 whizzing-by pages grows from around 8 to college and beyond while this daily awfulness never lets up. Apparen [...]

    Somewhere in the middle of Akhil Sharma’s stellar novel, Family Life, the narrator, Ajay Mishra, whose childhood is what the novel is about, starts a literary journey. He reads a biography of Ernest Hemingway before reading any works by him. In ninth grade at that point, he fantasizes about becoming a writer, and goes on to read critical essays on Hemingway. An essay tells him that “…Hemingway got away with writing plainly because he wrote about exotic things.” Thereafter, Ajay reads Hem [...]

    Since the author has stated that everything that occurs in this slim novel actually happened to him, I am mystified as to why he did not call it a memoir. In answer to this question Sharma states: “For me, a memoir is nonfiction and nonfiction has to be absolutely true.” But since I usually expect plot and character development when reading fiction, I was very disappointed with this true to life "novel". The story recounts the author's/protagonist's (Ajay) life, telling how he and his family [...]

    This book is about an immigrant experience crushed by the results of a medical tragedy. The ambitious expectations of East Indian parents for their son’s future academic success suddenly disappeared when their son is permanently brain damaged by a swimming pool accident. The story is told in first person by a younger son as the family slowly drifts into a form of dysfunction totally focused on the mother’s nonstop care of their helpless older son and the father's battle with alcoholism. Mean [...]

    I’ve read a couple of memoirs about caring for a family member with a severe brain injury: The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink and Beyond the High Blue Air by Lu Spinney. Compared to those, the tone of this autobiographical novel is so distant, so dispassionate that I had trouble feeling much sympathy for the immigrant family at its heart, despite the awfulness of their lives after Birju hits his head in a swimming pool and lies underwater for three long, brain-killing minutes. As they [...]

    This is a deeply moving story with a lot of sadness and loneliness, but it is also a story about unconditional love . The story is narrated by Ajay , who at 8 years old in the late 1970's, emigrates from India to the United States with his mother, father, and his older brother, Birju. They are a family seeking a better life, but when Birju has an accident and is mentally and physically incapacitated, “ the family life” becomes a daily struggle for all of them , as they try to care for Birju. [...]

    I received this advanced reader's copy from GR's Giveaways Program.For a good part of this book, I thought it was a Young Adult book because the narrator is a child. The tone is quite plainspoken, simple. This contrasts with and magnifies the profoundly devastating pain and confusion the boy experiences.The tone, though, doesn't change as the narrator matures, for instance into high school. The tone remains simple and here I believe its continuation reflects the deep melancholy of his life on se [...]

    A simple and brutal story of a family's tragedy. Survival and salvation are not always the same thing, but in this narrative, survival feels like salvation. The simplicity of the narrative is profound, a lyricism to match the exactness of the horror. Love does all sorts of things to people, but in Akhil Sharma's book it is sublime and horror all at once. The novel is masterful.

    Family Life4.5 startsI loved this book. It felt honest and profound. For such a short read it was very intense and powerful. I have taken a few days to write this review, to let some feeling and thoughts settled down first.This novel is elegant and beautiful. It’s also dark and tragic, but it also has its share of light and funny moments. Indian-American author Akhil Sharma has been described as a “supreme storyteller” and after reading this novel I can see why. This is a story about immig [...]

    Yet again, one of those books which you read from start to finish in almost one breath. And which leave you breathless. Not a very long book, yet such tremendous detailing and superb plot outline! With narration that leaves you speechless. Pardon the use of so many cliches but this one book that truly deserves it. Akhil Sharma talks about things that a lot of emigrant Indians go through. And this may have been talked about by other authors as well. But the passionate telling of the story makes o [...]

    “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So wrote Leo Tolstoy over a century ago. Akhil Sharma’s canvas is a distinctly unhappy family, and we’re alerted to it from the very first line: “My father has a glum nature. He’s been retired for a few years and he doesn’t speak much.”There’s a reason for his father’s glumness. As Indian immigrants, Ajay (the young narrator’s) parents had high hopes for their life in America, mainly centering ar [...]

    Ajay is eight years old, he is in India with his mother and older brother, waiting for his father, who had gone to America a year before, to send them tickets to join him. The tickets arrive and they leave, becoming immigrants in a land very unfamiliar to them.At first things are strange and this semi autobiographical novel does a great job describing everything Ajay sees and does. When automatic doors open, he feels very important, elevators are a source of wonder, but there are adjustments as [...]

    There are some wonderful moments in Akhil Sharma's Family Life, largely in how the protagonist, Ajay, sees the world. He often has a view that is juvenile, yet insightful. These glimpses of Ajay's perspective give this novel its strength, but it hinges far too much on these occasions. The story and characters all seem to revolve around these moments in Ajay's life, and while that may be the point, it does not lend to the most enjoyable read. The novel lacked a singularity that could keep me inte [...]

    Quietly disheartening book about a family implosion. In 1978, eight-year-old Ajay Mishra lives in Delhi with his older brother, Birju, and his mother and father. His father immigrates to America and a year later, he sends airline tickets and the rest of the family follow him. Ajay struggles to assimilate while Birju has an easier time fitting in. Birju has just been accepted, to the family’s delight, to the prestigious Bronx High School of Science, when tragedy strikes. How Ajay and his family [...]

    More of a 3.5 plus than an outright 4 out of 5."Family Life" falls in the category of 'illness dramas' (doesn’t sound nice, I know) like Jerry Pinto's spectacular debut novel "Em and The Big Hoom" but the latter is a far more superlative work in that regard. Nonetheless, the major appeal of this book lies in its portrayal of a dysfunctional family that you might resonate with even if you believe you've never been part of one.Autobiographical in nature, Akhil Sharma invested twelve-and-a-half y [...]

    One brother is catatonic, the other is mundaneThe plot is bothFine to have the voice of a young teenage narrator, but the voice doesn't change as the narrator gets older. And I deliberately didn't use the word "matures" because he doesn't seem to mature at all.I am still not sure why this was a recommended read he must have credentials or connections. There was no plot. There was an enormous amount of trivial repetition. Boring as! Get. Over. Yourself.

    “Family Life” is a coming of age story, an immigrant story, a story that proves once again how every family is unhappy in its own way. Closely based on Sharma’s own life, it’s as near to memoir as fiction gets. Yet despite the many categories into which it can be slotted, this tender, tragic, darkly humorous novel stands apart. From the opening line, “My father has a glum nature”, it’s a masterpiece of understatement and whatever the opposite of sentimentality is. It's impossible t [...]

    3.5 starsI liked this book much. It is straightforward, direct and honest and I found it an easy read. I liked how the author has pared the writing down till it is clear of all excess sentimentality and self-pity. It must have taken a lot of doing to reach this level of detachment and objectivity. That I guess explains the first question that puzzled me about it - why such a slight book should have taken twelve years to write. The other thing that puzzled me was the tremendous hype the book has [...]

    This was a short book and a quick read, which was hard for me to believe as it took the author twelve years to write it. In reading about it I found that this fictional story is based very closely on events in his own life. Two young boys immigrate to the US from Dehli with there parents. When tragedy occurs it changes each and every member of this family and mostly not for the better. "Family Life" is told from the point of view of AJay who is only 8 at the beginning of this story. It is his ol [...]

    Family Life by Akhil Sharma is in part the story of the Indian immigrant in the United States. But mostly it is the story of a family, struck by tragedy and coming apart because of its ceaseless weight.Ajay and his older brother Birju come to the United States from India when Ajay is 8 years old. Birju adjusts more quickly-he makes friends more easily, gets excellent grades, and is perhaps the more beloved by their parents. Then, shortly after realizing his family's dreams of being accepted to t [...]

    If I ever do a chapter by chapter analysis of this book, with the chapter on the x-axis and the ratings on the y-axis, it would closely resemble a sine curve.The book is sad. The plot has nothing happy to cheer about, it's a book about family struggles around an event which is depressing. The family's struggle is even more depressing. The characters are depressing. The place is sad. And yet, Akhil Sharma has managed to give us a good book around various elements of melancholy.The good moments of [...]

    This novel was so gripping I read it in two days on the beach. I could hardly lift my eyes from it to look at the ocean. If you know what the novel's about, as I did, the suspense comes first from the expectation of that terrible event and then from an almost unbearable desire to be told that such a crushing blow can be endured and overcome, that perhaps somewhere, somehow, Ajay will find release and happiness. Every sentence manages to convey both the pain that Ajay feels and the confused desir [...]

    This is a lovely book. The story is beautifully focused on the impact on an Indian American family when one of their sons is permanently brain damaged. The first person narrator is funny and quirky and honest and brave and silly, and his voice is straightforward at the same time. Not a sentimental book in any way. Deeply felt, sparingly communicated in prose. Loved these characters despite all their shortcomings. Best last line of a novel I've read in centuries.

    La vida de Ajay, un inmigrante indio que se va con su familia a EEUU. Problemas familiares, compararse con su hermano. Me ha parecido un libro muy interesante. Gracias por la recomendación.

    I heard about this book on the Tenement Museum's YouTube channel Akhil Sharma was the featured speaker in the Tenement Talks series in May, 2014 (see a href="youtube/watch?v=S8Bzo).The novel is about an Indian family who immigrates to the U.S. in the 1970s and is told from the point of view of the younger of two sons, who is age 8 when he arrives. A terrible tragedy occurs and Ajay's older brother is brain-damaged. The book is about how that event affects the life of the family.Sharma's writing [...]

    In Akhil Sharma's second novel, Family Life, an immigrant Indian family living in suburban America face a tragic situation: their eldest son Birju, a promising young scholar, survives an accident that leaves him brain damaged, blind and unable to walk or talk. He requires constant care around the clock, but his family never give up hope that he will eventually emerge unscathed from the condition that has so destroyed his life and irrevocably altered theirs.This heartbreaking story is told from t [...]

    What a writer! This Folio award winning novel took Sharma over 10 years to write and is beautifully crafted. Others have explored immigrants to America quite recently, but there is a fresh and observant style that haunts well after the book is finished. It is arguably a coming-of-age story, and the estrangement from American culture is present in every character. (The most entertaining are a variety of faith healers who visit the family.) I had just read the non-fiction, Little Failure, by Gary [...]

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