The Association of Small Bombs

The Association of Small Bombs

by Karan Mahajan


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143109273
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/18/2016
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 180,850
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

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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The Association of Small Bombs 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
thewanderingjew More than 1 year ago
The Association of Small Bombs- Barnes and Noble review In 1996, two brothers were killed when a bomb exploded in an open air market in Delhi, India. So began a book that explores terrorism and the making of a terrorist, exposing the type of person that joins the cause and the reactions of the victims to the havoc they wreak. In the early days of terrorism, using small bombs, disorganized splinter groups accomplished one important goal. They created fear and confusion even though only minor death and destruction occurred. This fear and confusion gave rise to the need for vengeance and retribution on the part of the victims and their families. They had to come to terms with the experience in a way that allowed them to go forward with their lives. Often these methods had disastrous consequences, at other times they succeed in gaining some closure for the victim’s families. Unfortunately, these little groups of radical Muslims, or Islamists, that were largely ignored in foreign lands, were able to spawn more plentiful militant groups, eventually giving birth to 9/11. Tushar and Nakul Khurana, were young boys, not yet teenagers, on what their father would later think of as a fool’s errand. They had gone to the market in Lajpat Nagar to pick up a television that had been repaired. Because they were poor, they could not purchase a new one. The boys died when a bomb exploded. Their friend Mansour ran away and lived with survivor’s guilt for the rest of his life. In the book, the author gives the impression that was commonplace in India among the people portrayed in the book; people of certain classes lied to save face. They simply lied to protect themselves, their image or their ultimate goals, and not all of their goals were noble. The bombers lied because they could, and they lied because it was acceptable to do so in order to destroy their enemies. Their enemies were worthless. In that way they excused their own immorality and lack of ethics. In the aftermath of the explosion at the market, everyone had advice to give to the Khurana’s and the Ahmed’s. The Ahmed’s, Muslims in a country largely Hindu, felt out of place and were under a cloud of greater suspicion. Suspicions even arose about the injured Mansour. As a Muslim, could he have been the bomber? Almost hypocritically, the victims took pleasure in witnessing the torture of the damned in prison, even thought they objected to the violence that was inflicted upon themselves. They soon realized that often the wrong people were rounded up and incarcerated. They were beaten and tortured into submission and confession. The justice system was not just. When small bombs exploded in various parts of the world, the world took little notice; terrorist groups began to grow in number in that vacuum. The small bombings rarely attracted notice until 9/11, when so many Americans died and Al Qaeda became a household name. More often than not, the innocent were captured and imprisoned. They confessed because they could not withstand the torture. The spiders escaped the net. The flies did not. How the terrorists and their victims came to be and survived is explored well in this book.
redjewel7734 More than 1 year ago
I received this book as my Book of the Month choice for may, and I cannot praise this book enough. It is beautifully written and brings such a poignant touch to a subject that has become such a pervasive part of our culture. In today's media, it seems we hear about these small bombs every other day; in fact, we hear about them to the point that I believe that we have stopped listening and being impacted them...if I or someone I know wasn't hurt by one of these small bombs, then we so often just shake our head and move on. This story highlights that and shows why it is so wrong. Mahajan shows how these small bombs move out and touch and expand into the lives of all it touches. The bomb becomes representative of everything in this book. It explodes and wipes out the lives of 2 young brothers instantly, but we see that perhaps that is the simplest part of this story. The father has dreams and visions of himself as a bomb and watches as his life falls apart, rebuilds, and falls apart again as the bomb continues to define him. His wife struggles as she falls apart after the loss of her boys, can even another child help her put the pieces of her life together again or will even this new life be destroyed by the force of the bomb? This is the most straightforward of the way life is impacted by the bomb, and even it isn't clear. You also have the life of the friend who survived the bomb and how it continues to radiate and control his and his family's life. The bombers can't even escape the impact as we watch them struggle to achieve the blast then what happens as they try to outrun the blast. Then there are those accused of the blast which sometimes are and sometimes are not the bombers themselves. We even have the lives impacted of those who weren't even there. How does a peaceful activist working for the wrongly accused become a terrorist? The bottom line is that a bomb radiates and affects lives in unexpected ways and sometimes we don't realize how deeply a life has been impacted until we're looking at the rubble of a life imploded. This book has made me think of the tragedies in ways I can't fully encapsulate as of yet. I look forward to rereading it and exploring its messages more deeply.