Monday, April 21, 2014

Akhil Sharma

Akhil Sharma’s new novel is Family Life.

From the author's Q & A with Mohsin Hamid for Guernica:

Guernica: Family Life is the story of an Indian family that immigrates to America in the late 1970s as part of the first large wave of Indian immigration to the US. They come for the opportunities that the country offers for the family’s two children. At first everything they hope for occurs: the older of the two sons gets into the Bronx High School of Science. Soon, though, after they have been in the country for two years, the family suffers a tragedy: the older son has an accident in a swimming pool. He dives into the pool, strikes his head on the bottom of the pool, is knocked unconscious, and remains underwater for three minutes. When he is pulled out, he is severely brain damaged.

I know that this story is very similar to your life. Could you give me a sense of how much of the novel is autobiography?

Akhil Sharma: This is one of those questions that novelists hate to answer.

Guernica: I know.

Akhil Sharma: Novels should be judged rigorously. Either a book works or it doesn’t. The fact that something is true in the real world should not lend authority to it in fiction.

Guernica: I know. I ask because I have a second question based on your answer.

Akhil Sharma: Almost everything in the novel is true. In the novel, though...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue