Family Life: A Novel

Winner of the 2016 International Dublin Literary Award

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 more: 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.

Amazon Reviews:

A fascinating but painful read. One of a number of excellent new novels that portray the travails of first generation immigrants…. added to that the hardships that health problems can inflict on any family. A poignant example of how hard and lonely it can be to make it in ‘the land of opportunity’. – Menorca

This is one of my favorite books that I have recently read. The way Ajay and Birju’s story unfolds is touching and realistic. I love how the narration becomes more mature as Ajay ages throughout the novel. – David P.

When I read Akhil Sharma’s “Family Life,” I was reminded of the effect listening to a sad song has on a person. Sometimes you need to hear sad music. Often, you’ll find it touches you. This novel was painful to read at some points because of the intense honesty Sharma deploys. But at no time did I want to stop reading. The sentences are simple to be beautiful. The story is heartening. Highly recommended. – Michael Czobit

A very well written novel with excellent characters. The narrator is well developed and each chapter reveals more about this fascinating yet flawed individual. I enjoyed the read even when the narrators actions made me wince. You won’t regret purchasing this read. – Pat

This is an incredible novel! One of the best I have read in a long time! It is honest, gut wrenching, tough…but deeply human and connected to the most basic human fears, problems, longings, love, etc. This novels dances between the specific experiences of an Indian family moving to a new land and the universal experiences, in pain and in love, that bind all of us! I could not put it down! – Angel A. Rivera

Available now at these fine retailers:

Amazon | Kobo | Indigo