Author: Akhil Sharma
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0670893935
An astonishing character study, a portrait of a family - and a country - tormented by the past, this book recalls Dostoevsky's guilt-ridden anti-heroes.
An inspector for the Physical Education Department in the Delhi School system, Ram Karan supports his widowed daughter Anita and eight-year-old granddaughter Asha by collecting bribes for a small-time congress party boss. As 'Mr. Gupta's man', his days are spent extorting money from frightened school administrators and terrorizing petty traders. In the evening he returns to the tiny flat set at the end of a dingy back-lane of old Delhi, to a life remarkable only for its lack of human warmth and dignity.
Things change on the eve of Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, when one reckless act bares the lifetime of violence and sexual shame behind his dingy public career. Even as he struggles to hold on to his authority within the family, Ram Karan finds himself drawn into a farcical, but terrifying political campaign that could cost him his life.
This work is a stunning debut.