Books Magazine

Family Life – Akhil Sharma

By Hannahreadsstuff

Family LifeThe Blurb:

Ajay, eight years old, spends his afternoons playing cricket in the streets of Delhi with his brother Birju, four years older. They are about to leave for shiny new life in America. Ajay anticipates, breathlessly, a world of jet-packs and chewing-gum. When a terrible accident makes a mockery of that dream, the family splinters.

I feel really guilty about this one. It is one of those novels (though it is mostly a memoir) that have the critics tingling with praise and drenched in their own emotions. I can see column inches being written about Family Life that will far dwarf this already small book.

However, unlike another of this year’s much hyped (and all-out) memoirs, The Rules of Inheritance, this made little impression on me.

The story is moving and I can see how it must have been a painful endeavour for the author (“I feel as if I’ve shattered my youth on this book”), but I have to say, I found it quite a bland read.

This may mean I’m a soulless monster.

For me, the narrative was flat and Ajay’s voice, though childlike, seemed monotonous; it didn’t bubble with the cauldron of emotions being described.

I also struggled with the notion that this was a novel even though Sharma has stated most of what is written is true. Why not then just promote it as an all-out memoir? Lots of autobiographies are fluffed up with tweaked memories and hyperbole. Does anyone know of any other titles promoted like this?

I anticipate this being quite popular thanks to much more glowing reviews than mine, so give it a go. It’s a quick read (no more than a few hours) and you may come away with more than I did.

I’m off to watch moving videos on YouTube now to see if there’s something wrong with me.

Book info:


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