A life of Adventure and Delight

There’s something rewarding about having read Akhil Sharma’s books and short stories in the New Yorker and other places before coming to this book. More than half the stories in this collection have some connection to his other work. Characters like Pitaji, Ajay, Gopal and others were both familiar and fresh in this collection. I like the idea of each short story or novel having another world it lives in. Perhaps there is always another path each character could have taken. This collection, in some ways, is a collection of drafts about what else might have happened to a character if they made a slightly different choice.

Sharma’s writing, as I described in my review of An Obedient Father is sharp. His observations of the behavior of impotent men, slight in their stature (physically or socially) but bursting with energy and ambition inside, are among the truest depictions of Indian and Indian American men I’ve ever come across. Sharma is chronicling a fascinating age of what it means to be an Indian or Diaspora Indian man. I’m one of these men. I’m friends with and related to many of these men. I can’t wait to see if we become better over time. We’ve got some ways to go.