Stephan Lee
April 04, 2014 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Family Life

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Akhil Sharma
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

There’s something universal about so-called ”immigrant novels,” but as Akhil Sharma demonstrates in Family Life, every immigrant family struggles with displacement and assimilation in its own deeply specific way. The Mishras’ younger son, Ajay, narrates the story of his family’s move from Delhi to New York City, which takes a tragic turn when an accident leaves his older brother, Birju — the golden child — brain-dead. Sharma spent 13 years writing this slim novel, and the effort shows in each lucid sentence and heartbreaking detail. A-

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