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The patriarch of a chaotic family living in a hectic land must come to terms with himself and what he's wrought at home and at work in this excellent debut. Rakesh Ahuja battles the twin bedlams of his sprawling family and overcrowded home city of New Delhi while simultaneously trying to save his career as the minister of urban development. Rakesh attempts to manipulate and cajole his way through the corrupt and sometimes illogical Indian civil service, often finding himself embroiled in absurd intrigues. Home is no less fraught, where his 13 children battle each other for their often-absent father's love. The lone exception is Arjun, the eldest, whose adolescent rebellion and nascent romantic inclinations prompt him to form a rock band and pull away from his frenetic family. As Rakesh clumsily reaches out to his first-born son, the twists of fate that shaped both their lives are revealed, providing a portrait of a family that is both comical and heartbreaking. Mahajan's effortless blending of comedy and tragedy is irresistible and should help his book stand out. (Dec.)
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“Mahajan’s sprightly first novel portrays India’s capital10 million strongin all its explosive fecundity. . . . Mahajan is only 24 years old, but he has already developed an irresistible voice with a rich sense of humor fueled by sorrow.” (Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World)
“A spot-on satire of Indian family life, globalization, and intergenerational strife.” (The New York Post)
“Karan Mahajan is a naturala masterful storyteller, an assured stylist and a gentle satirist whose unblinking vision is ultimately tempered by compassion. Family Planning is an incredibly accomplished debut. More than a fine first novel, it’s one of the best comic novels I’ve read in years.” (Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City)
“An excellent debut. . . . A portrait of family that is both comical and heartbreaking. . . . Mahajan’s effortless blending of comedy and tragedy is irresistible.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Sharply written, bracingly funny, and unexpectedly movingKaran Mahajan combines ‘take no prisoners’ satire with haunting insights into the human condition.” (Manil Suri)
“An entertaining expose of a unique family.” (Booklist)
“A delightfully entertaining novel about father-son conflict that readers from just about any culture can appreciate. . . . Mahajan interjects hilarity throughout otherwise tense and poignant moments of family drama. . . . Strongly recommended.” (Library Journal)
“Brave, breackneck, and amusing. . . . A fearless cultural domestic tour. . . . Irreverent, fresh, and sometimes, given its author’s youth, preternaturally wise.” (The San Francisco Chronicle)
“The truest portrait of modern New Delhi I’ve read, and the funniest book of the year.” (Suketu Mehta, The Daily Beast)
“Comic novels, full of loveable eccentrics and sly social commentary, seem to be one of ‘new’ India’s main exports; this is one of the sharpest and funniest examples.” (The Times (London))
“Mahajan is only 24 years old, but he has a mature and impressive grasp of poignant comedy and has opened up Delhi to western readers in a way that a more overtly politicised novel may not.” (The Observer (London))