The Association of Small Bombs: A Novel.pdf

The Association of Small Bombs: A Novel.pdf



For readers of Mohsin Hamid, Dave Eggers, Arundhati Roy, and Teju Cole, The Association of Small Bombs is an expansive and deeply humane novel that is at once groundbreaking in its empathy, dazzling in its acuity, and ambitious in scope

When brothers Tushar and Nakul Khurana, two Delhi schoolboys, pick up their family’s television set at a repair shop with their friend Mansoor Ahmed one day in 1996, disaster strikes without warning. A bomb—one of the many “small” bombs that go off seemingly unheralded across the world—detonates in the Delhi marketplace, instantly claiming the lives of the Khurana boys, to the devastation of their parents. Mansoor survives, bearing the physical and psychological effects of the bomb. After a brief stint at university in America, Mansoor returns to Delhi, where his life becomes entangled with the mysterious and charismatic Ayub, a fearless young activist whose own allegiances and beliefs are more malleable than Mansoor could imagine. Woven among the story of the Khuranas and the Ahmeds is the gripping tale of Shockie, a Kashmiri bomb maker who has forsaken his own life for the independence of his homeland.
Karan Mahajan writes brilliantly about the effects of terrorism on victims and perpetrators, proving himself to be one of the most provocative and dynamic novelists of his generation.

Praise for The Association of Small Bombs
“Like a Russian novel set in India, Karan Mahahan’s Association of Small Bombs has the sweep, wisdom and sensibility of the old masters. Here the humor of Bulgakov and the heart of Pasternak deliver an exploded-view of a small bomb that goes off in a minor market in a corner of South Delhi. Like shrapnel, themes of suffering, dislocation and redemption radiate from the blast, and none will be spared Mahajan’s piercing gaze. Urgent and masterful, this novel shows us how bystander, bomber, victim, and survivor will forever share a patch of scorched ground.”
—Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Orphan Master’s Son

The Association of Small Bombs is a brilliant examination of aftermath, how life is built of consequences, both imagined and unimagined, the tight web of human life and human sympathy. Karan Mahajan knows everyone, on every side of a detonation: the lost, the grieving, the innocent, the guilty, the damaged. It’s hilarious and also devastating. Karan Mahajan is a virtuoso writer, and this is a wonderful book.”
—Elizabeth McCracken, author of Thunderstruck & Other Stories

“Karan Mahajan’s thoughtful, touching and perfectly pitched account of two marketplace bombings and the casual havoc they cause in a handful of Delhi families is almost subversive in its even-handedness and its charity. For all its unflinching—and unnerving—fatalism, The Association of Small Bombs is an unusually wise, tender, and generous novel.”
—Jim Crace, author of the Booker Prize finalist Harvest

“Karan Mahajan is daring comfortable readers to make an uncomfortable connection: between the bomb that goes off on the first page of his book, and the way the pages that follow seem to scatter, in bright-hot shards of heartbreaking story. The Association of Small Bombs, which tracks the aftermath of a blast in Delhi in 1996, is a work of disabused intelligence, and staggering compassion—for the victims, and even for the terrorists, all of whom are rendered whole, even if they’re in pieces. Its political subtlety is laudable for how relentlessly it’s paced, and the grace of its prose acts like a balm to its trauma. Mahajan’s sense of fiction as the history behind history puts him in league with Joseph Conrad, and like Conrad he succeeds brilliantly at writing past Empire, by relating the newest of news-cycles to the oldest of tale-cycles.”
—Joshua Cohen, author of Book of Numbers

Praise for Family Planning
“Profound . . . Mahajan is only 24 years old, but he has already developed an irresistible voice with a rich sense of humor fueled by sorrow.”
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World
“The truest portrait of modern New Delhi I’ve read.”
—Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City

Family Planning is one of the best and funniest first novels I’ve read in years.”
—Jay McInerney, The Daily Beast
“Brave, breakneck, and amusing . . . A fearless cultural domestic tour . . . Irreverent, fresh, and sometimes, given its author’s youth, preternaturally wise . . . Almost every page bears a passage worth quoting.”
—The San Francisco Chronicle
“Mahajan packs this hyperbolic blast of a novel with scathing reflections . . . . The rhythms of [New Delhi’s] English, the tangle of its bureaucracies, the sights, sounds and smells of its streets—all spring to hectic life.”
—Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times
“Highly entertaining . . . The level of concision, insight, and humor on display in Family Planning is rare from any writer, but particularly one so young.”
—Maud Newton, NPR Books We Like
“[A book] I’d love to ‘gift’ . . . is the coming-of-age comedy Family Planning, by the 24-year-old wunderkind Karan Mahajan. . . . I love the way Mahajan sees family life.”
—Liesl Schillinger, The Huffington Post
“Karan Mahajan combines take-no-prisoners satire with haunting insights into the human condition.”
—Manil Suri, author of The Death of Vishnu

Karan Mahajan was born in 1984 and grew up in New Delhi, India. His first novel, Family Planning, was a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize and published in nine countries. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR’s All Things Considered, The New Yorker online, The Believer, The Paris Review Daily, and Bookforum. A graduate of Stanford University and the Michener Center for Writers, he lives in Austin, Texas.


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