Read This Now: Family Life

The Tusk


I don’t quite know how to describeFamily Life by Akhil Sharma. It’s a novel based on his actual life and told in the first person that covers many many years. It goes from India to the US, from childhood to adulthood and the one main crucial event pretty much happens offstage: Ajay, the narrator’s, brother dives into a pool and is underwater for three minutes and when he comes out he is a vegetable, alive but not alive and forever a silent but actual presence in Ajay’s life. The story and the language are simple and clear and almost emotionless (it makes sense when we find out Ajay patterns his writing after that of Hemingway), but also completely devastating.

It’s hard for me to explain how a book that has so little emotion can be so affecting without sounding like a creative writing teacher so I am just going…

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