An Obedient Father by Akhil Sharma

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An Obedient Father by Akhil Sharma
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An Obedient Father by Akhil Sharma

My general incompetence and laziness at work had been apparent for so long that I now think it was arrogant of Mr. Gupta to pick me as his money man. I am the type of person who does not make sure that a file includes all the pages it must have or that the pages are in the right order. I refuse to accept even properly placed blame, lying outright that somebody else misplaced the completed forms or spilled tea on them, even though I was the last one to sign them out, or had the soggy papers still on my desk.

As an inspector for the Physical Education Department in the Delhi school system, Ram Karan supports his widowed daughter and eight-year-old granddaughter by collecting bribes for a small-time Congress Party boss. On the eve of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, one reckless act bares the lifetime of violence and sexual shame behind Ram’s dingy public career and involves him in a farcical, but terrifying, political campaign that could cost him his life.

An astonishing character study, a portrait of a family–and a country–tormented by the past, An Obedient Father recalls Dostoyevsky’s guilt-ridden anti-heroes in a debut that is also as fully formed as The Moviegoer

An Obedient Father by Akhil Sharma is one of Gary Shteyngart’s favorite books