August 6, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Crafting Happiness: Amitava Kumar on Akhil Sharma

1 min read

A writer is not his books, says Amitava Kumar. He is only as good as his sentences. Reading and meeting Akhil Sharma proves his point: Indian Quarterly

akhil_sharmaAt the beginning of Akhil Sharma’s new book, Family Life, there is a description of the narrator’s father outside their two-room barsaati on a rooftop in Delhi. The bathroom has a sink attached to the outside wall. Here is the sentence I want to share with you: “Each night my father would stand before the sink, the sky full of stars, and brush his teeth till his gums bled.”

Upon reading that sentence, I have stepped into the world of Akhil Sharma’s writing. Simple words, simple phrases; but there is nothing simple about the world being described. There are the stars, and there is blood—in the same breath, we have both beauty and death.

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