An Obedient Father
By Akhil Sharma
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780156012034, 300pp.)
Publication Date: November 2001
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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A stunning novel about family secrets, hailed nationwide
as a masterpiece.
Ram Karan, a corrupt official in the New Delhi school system, lives in one of the city's slums with his widowed daughter and his little granddaughter. Bumbling, sad, ironic, Ram is also a man corroded by a terrible secret. With the assassination of the politician Rajiv Gandhi, Ram is plunged into a series of escalating and possibly deadly political betrayals. As he tries to save his family, his daughter reveals a crime he had hoped was long buried-and Ram, struggling to survive, must make amends after a life of deception. Taking the reader deep into a world of Indian families and politics, gangsters and movie stars, riots and morgues, An Obedient Father is an astonishing fiction debut, a work of rare sensibilities that presents a character as tormented, funny, and morally ambiguous as one of Dostoyevsky's antiheroes.
Akhil Sharma was born in India in 1971. His stories have been published in the Best New American Stories and O. Henry Award volumes, as well as the Atlantic and the New Yorker. He lives in Manhattan and works at an investment bank.
A stunning work that is both personal and political . . . perhaps the novel that, some might say, Arundhati Roy had wanted to write when she wrote
The God of Small Things."-The Nation
The themes of crime and punishment that Sharma explores so tellingly make
the parallels with Dostoyevsky's masterpiece compelling and instructive. . . .
That this novel is a debut is an astonishment."-Dan Cryer, Newsday
A cunning, dismaying and beautifully conceived portrait of a corrupt man
in a corrupt society."-Richard Eder, The New York Times