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SHORTLISTED 2014 – Scotiabank Giller Prize
From internationally acclaimed New Face of Fiction author Padma Viswanathan, a stunning new work set among families of those who lost loved ones in the 1985 Air India bombing, registering the unexpected reverberations of this tragedy in the lives of its survivors. A book of post-9/11 Canada, The Ever After of Ashwin Rao demonstrates that violent politics are all-too-often homegrown in North America but ignored at our peril.
In 2004, almost 20 years after the fatal bombing of an Air India flight from Vancouver, 2 suspects--finally--are on trial for the crime. Ashwin Rao, an Indian psychologist trained in Canada, comes back to do a "study of comparative grief," interviewing people who lost loved one in the attack. What he neglects to mention is that he, too, had family members who died on the plane. Then, to his delight and fear, he becomes embroiled in the lives of one family caught in the undertow of the tragedy, and privy to their secrets. This surprising emotional connection sparks him to confront his own losses. The Ever After of Ashwin Rao imagines the lasting emotional and political consequences of a real-life act of terror, confronting what we might learn to live with and what we can live without.
PADMA VISWANATHAN is a Canadian fiction writer, playwright and journalist, whose debut novel, The Toss of a Lemon, was shortlisted for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writer's Prize Best First Book Award (Canada and the Caribbean) and the PEN USA Fiction Award, and published to international acclaim. Her work has received many awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and support from the Canada Council, as well as residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Banff Centre and the Sacatar Foundation. Her hometown is Edmonton, Alberta, though she is presently living with her husband, Geoffrey Brock, a poet and translator, and their 2 children in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Praise for The Toss of a Lemon:
"A captivating novel that in relating the story of one Indian woman and her family tells the story of a changing society. Precisely and deftly written, constantly interesting, morally serious yet sympathetic--I challenge any reader to start reading this book and give up on it. It joins the company of the great novels on India." Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi
"In this debut novel, Padma Viswanathan offers a sweeping narrative of a Brahmin family that must redefine itself when the nation undergoes political and social upheavals.... The family...serves as a fascinating microcosm of a nation that is freeing itself of vestiges of colonialism and class divisions." Quill & Quire
"The world into which Padma Viswanathan plunges her reader...is a revelation: an ordered, profoundly exotic universe." The Gazette
"This soaring new novel, inspired by the author's family history, will draw comparisons to The God of Small Things, but Viswanathan has a voice and a vision all her own." Chatelaine